FKT: Steven Andrews - Great Allegheny Passage (GAP, MD/PA) - 2021-08-15

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Total time
3d 9h 48m 0s
GPS track(s)

Thank you to the FKT site administrators for setting up and running this inspirational website.

The Great Alleghany Passage is one of the best trails in the world! I did the route on my bike several years ago and I was happy to recently get it done on foot. I am incredibly grateful to all the volunteer organizations that have worked on improving this trail in recent years. In particular, the Steel Valley Trail Council has done a fantastic job in improving the first section of the trail near Pittsburgh, and I was motivated to support them after finishing the trail and encourage others to do so as well.

I am now over 40, but the self-reported 81-year-old had no complaints as he power-walked past my slowly jogging and stumbling fat arse on the final 1,587 vertical foot descent from the Eastern Continental Divide to Cumberland, Maryland, and I have zero complaints. Although I had hoped to jog a lot more than I did, I was fortunate to average nearly 45 miles a day for over 3 days. The last six months, since catching and never recovering from COVID, have been truly miserable. I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get out on the trail.

According to my crappy Amazon Warehouse new Coros Apex watch, I finished 154.85 miles, including the 150 miles of the Great Alleghany Passage and food trip detours back and forth to my departure point on the trail, in 81 hours and 48 minutes.

I had a wonderful time and hopefully learned some humility along the way. First, a big thank you and shout out to Chris Cantrell for finishing the GAP self-supported in 3d 11h 58m 44s last year and then going on to finish the C&O in a very respectable 3 days and 19 hours in the same effort. In November 2018, on my first attempt, I finished the C&O unsupported in 2 days and 17 hours and 15 minutes and change, and I have wanted to try and lower my time on that route. 

During my second attempt at the C&O I tried to run the entire thing without and food or calories, and I started with a very light pack and three emergency gels. I was smart, so I knew to tape my mouth shut at the beginning, because ... Yeah, I'm not sure how that was supposed to help. Anyways, I ended up only making it about 50k before I had my first emergency gel and I dropped out of that attempt at Harpers Ferry about 2/3 of the way into the route.

I recently planned on doing the C&O in a lazy 2.5 days, but a couple of days before I left I had the brilliant idea of doing the GAP as a warm-up. Although I had biked the GAP and C&O straight through several years ago, I, unfortunately, didn't learn any humility on that attempt as my dreams of a sub-24 hour effort on my bike ended up with my deciding to rent a cheap hotel room in Hancock, MD and finishing in a lazy two days.

Although I have been in the worst physical and mental shape of my life for the past six months with almost no exercise since a DNF at around mile 55 of the C&O Canal 100 back in April 2021, I figured it would be easy to go out and jog the 150-mile GAP in around 50 hours as part of a warmup for an attempt at a solid time on the C&O canal. Clearly, that did not happen, nor did my delightful planned sleep before the start in Pittsburgh when I got kicked out of the amtrak station, but it always feels good to get out on the trail and to get after it.

My hope was that this trip would be nice and relaxing, and it was a fun camping trip with two nights of something resembling sleep during 7+ hour stops. Unfortuantely, both those stops were pretty much mandated by massive thunderstorms and rain, and with the motivation of beating Chris Cantrell's time there wasn't much sleep on my third night.

I plan to share a more detailed trip report on a public facebook post (link above is currently mainly pictures and will be edited to include more text), but I wanted to first submit this attempt for verification and share a couple of preliminary details.

Amtrak from Rockville, MD to 1.5 miles from the start in Pittsburgh

Day 1: Pittsburgh to near Roundbottom Campsite ~48 miles

Day 2: Near Roundbottom Campsite to Ohiopyle State Park ~ 38.5 miles

Day 3: Ohiopyle State Park to before Big Savage Tunnel ~45 miles

Day 4: Before Big Savage Tunnel to Cumberland, MD ~23 miles.

I had thought of doing this trip unsupported, but I ran into a number of issues getting water. I did have a mini sawyer water filter that I used 5 times and I carried a 2-liter Camelbak and another 12 oz water bottle that I filled up pretty much wherever I could.

Store stops during the trip:

Day 1: Yough Twister in Sutersille, PA. Ice cream twist, slice pizza, bacon quarter-pounder, diet soda

Day 1: Local tral restaurant: Ice Cream Confectionary, Smithton, PA 6:52 PM, Thursday, Aug 12. Home-grown corn on the cob, home-made mac and chicken and cheese, ice cream

Day 2: Martin's Food Grocery Store in Connersville, PA on Friday, Aug 13 at 10:30 am, entire roast chicken, tub of hummus, pumpernickel bagel, yoghurt, bell pepper, apples

Day 2: Grocery store in Ohiopyle outfitter next to trial. Two canned Starbucks

I also stopped at a Rite Aid along the trail

Day 3: Rockwood Visitor Trail Stand: Bag of doritos and two small gatordayes

Day 3: Sheetz down the big hill from Meyersdale train intersection at around 8:30pm. Steak and cheese sandiwch, two hotdogs, two monster energy drinks, cliff body builder bar, two kodiak granola bars, two waffle energy things.


My highlight may or may not have been getting or maybe not getting naked and jumping into a waterfall. This trail is awesome. Go do it.