We started at 7:30am EST on what would turn out to be a very cold and eventually wet day that barely made it above 37F. The previous days had brought steady rain showers to the area leading to the trails being incredibly wet and caked with mud. It made for some tricky descents on Germantown trails and very slippery climbing in Twin Creek. We parked at Kercher Park and started north towards Germantown because we knew that's where most of the elevation would be and we thought it wise to get that section tackled on fresh legs before any additional rain fell. The switchbacks on the TVT connector leading into Germantown were leaf packed and slick, but fairly runnable. Making our way into the park proper the trails quickly turned into a treacherous mess on the first section of the orange loop. They stayed that way until we finally climbed out of the river valley and things were a bit more dry. As we looped back around Germantown and back to the switchbacks of the TVT connector we encountered ice pellets for about 10 min. We took a quick stop to refuel for water, swap out wet gloves, put on rain jackets at our cars and use the lone port-o-potty before we headed south towards Twin Creek. Traffic was fortunately light on the TVT connector section that is on the road there. There's a blind curve that runners and hikers of this trail system have to be highly aware of and we made sure to do this section midday to avoid any incidents. This section also runs in front of a sand and gravel lot for a cement company. The 2 hard climbs in Twin Creek were not runnable and instead were scaled with the help of tree roots and rocks. After the final switchback in Twin Creek we knew the hardest parts were behind us and we could relax a bit more and enjoy the scenery. Leaving Twin Creek and heading back to Kercher for the finish it started rain. It was a very cold and soaking rain. We did spot nearly 20 Black Vultures along the side of the road on our way back which are somewhat uncommon for our area. As we came around the final bend we spotted our finish line, a neon pink MANDO sign that someone had nailed to a tree beside a frisbee golf course. We used the Mandalorian theme song to run the final quarter mile and to finish with a flourish just before 2:30pm EST. It was a great way to push at the end. We had the trails to ourselves for nearly all 26+ miles which was a nice boon. For me personally (Rebekah), it was the hardest run I have ever done. This trail system is a challenge even in good weather. I struggled on the back half and it was only through sheer will and alot of positive heckling from Clare that I kept moving especially when the rain hit and it was impossible to keep the wind from blowing through your leggings. Overall, a really tough and crappy day to run this, but I am incredibly grateful as always for the amazing park system and trail techs we have that help maintain these areas and our ability to run long and go hard.
6h 59m 27s