Friday, March 7, 2008

35-mile Catawba Run Around

Tomorrow morning I will embark on a little journey that we call the Catawba Run Around. This unofficial gathering of ultra friends is a 35-mile loop run mostly on the Appalachian Trail west of Roanoke, VA. It's a tough one. I've run 50-milers faster than I can run this 35-mile loop. One reason is the almost 9,000 feet of climbing.

The other reason is that runs like this aren't supposed to be fast. The route takes us over three of the AT's biggest highlights: McAfee's Knob, Tinker Cliffs, and Dragon's Tooth.

(McAfee's Knob, 2005 CRA)

(Dragon's Tooth, 2004)

For many people, it's a day-hike just to get to one of these three natural wonders. We cannot afford that luxury, but most of us do take our time and enjoy the trail along the way. One year I remember Matt Kirk was among the lead runners until he got to Dragon's Tooth and decided to sunbathe for a while and wait for his dad. That's how a run like this is supposed to be run.

There are races that we race to win, to complete as fast as possible. Not the Catawba Run Around. Like a fine whiskey, this beauty needs to be sipped, not chugged.

(Carl Camp enjoying a CRA tradition, 2004)

Run hard out there -- except when the scenery demands that you slow down, or when there is whiskey involved.

1 comment:

Spanish said...

Haha awesome. I went to tech and graduated in 08 and ran xc/track. That is one of the best hikes in the area. I actually did a day hike of that loop in about 13 or 14 hours with a full backpack. My friends thought I was crazy especially since i told them i was going to take 2 or 3 days to do it. I got excited and just kept going. If I ever return back east I will definately do that run. Keep up the good work.