FKT: Shannon Cebron - Patapsco Valley State Park Traverse (MD) - 2023-06-03

Route variation
out & back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
14h 40m 2s
GPS track(s)

A couple months ago I decided to do this route on 6/3/23 as a tuneup for CC100 in July. Unfortunately I got quite unlucky with almost 100% humidity and an unusually high overnight temperature of 77 meaning that even with starting at 3am it was immediately a sweatfest.

Despite all of that and still getting over a cold, I managed to get out there and do it and had a good many miles that felt great and flew by. Overall I felt limber and lucid for the first 40 miles or so and kept at a good clip. Nutrition was a big issue with the heat and humidity and around mile 45 I started struggling to keep food down. From there onward I took it much slower, choosing to forgo my pursuit of also getting the one-way FKT (which is from the turnaround to the finish of the out & back route), prioritizing calories & hydration.

I had a ton of support all day and otherwise, there's no way I could have done this today. Several of my AFC teammates came out to run miles with me, and I ended up only doing about 2 miles alone of the entire run. My friend and teammate Owen did aid stops early on and then my better half Ryan did them for the latter part of the run. It can take a lot of understanding and compromise to be the partner of someone who does things like this, so thank you to Ryan and all of the other ultra partners out there!

First 22ish miles at night were self sufficient and then I had aid stops every 8-10 miles for the remainder of the run. It is super easy to do aid stops on this route, being as it traverses the park and passes by many different trailheads with parking lots. In the non winterized months there are various water sources that are turned on, but gratefully I didn't have to research those in much detail because I had so much crew help. There are bathrooms or port-a-pots in quite a few places, but mostly you have to go 0.1 or so off the route to see them, so you may want to mark them on your GPX track.

I did my best to faithfully stick to Pat Blair's route. There were a few areas where slight reroutes were required due to trail section closures or conditions. Mostly it was nothing significant, but I will say the whole connector section between Avalon and downtown EC had prohibitive overgrowth. Luckily the legend Pat Blair himself was with me for this part and we managed to bushwhack our way to the train tracks. My mileage came out to about the same but with extra vert, much to my dismay.

Starting point is at the Avalon parking, which is not accessible until the park opens in the morning, so Pat ferried me down there on a tandem bike which may have been the biggest adrenaline rush all day!

I hated the weather so much but Patapsco herself was still resplendent as always of course! So beautiful out there and the shifts in flora between park areas are really cool to experience during a traverse. A lot of wildlife sightings today including turtles, toads, deer, 1 harmless and 1 copperhead snake! And of course the tick that I tweezed off of me later that night! There were black bear sightings in the park this same day but we did not catch a glimpse.



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