Several months ago after running the Iron Horse 100 mile race in Florida I began to chat with several running friends about running the entire 77 mile Foothills Trail. Dan Hartley, Weezy Downey, Mad Dog Riggins, and a few others were interested so we set July 24-25 as the date. The date was to work for our advantage because we would have about 15 hours of daylight and a full moon at night. We didn't count on temps in the 90's with high humidity and 100 degree heat index.
Weeks and months ticked away after we decided to run the trail in February. Dan set the framework of organization for the run and six brave souls showed up for the journey. As you read this please realize that this is only my account of the run. I hope to include links in this post if other runners decide to share their experiences.
We all decided to meet on Friday afternoon around 3:00 PM at Oconee State Park where the run would end and setup our campsites so they would be waiting as we finished. We setup the campsites and then headed to Table Rock State park which would be the beginning of the run. Sweat poured from our bodies as we put our tents up. In the back of my head I wondered how this heat was going to play out in the run tomorrow. Little did I know. We dropped aid along the way at Cheohee Road, Burrell's Ford, Whitewater Falls, and Laurel Valley Parking Lot. We all arrived at Table Rock State park and had our camps setup with dinner being ate before dark.
Sam enjoying the afternoon with a chuckle...
I pose for a pre-camp shot.......
Charles & Psyche having a laugh before dinner....
After enjoying some cold grilled chicken breast and has browns, I was in my tent sleeping before 9:30 PM. The alarm was set for 3:30 A.M.the run was to begin the run at 4:00 A.M.
4:00 A.M. came quickly as it always does and we began our walk to the Foothills Trail head on time. We all walked quietly through the still darkness onto the paved road which leads to the trail head. After only two minutes of walking a car came driving down the road and it was Scott H. who was there to support us and provide aid. Scott drove on down to the trail head and snapped a group photo of us at the start.
From Left to Right: Dan Hartley, Chad Henderson, Jim Cobb, Charles Raffensperger, Psyche Wimberly, Jason Sullivan
"The people that I have met are not foolish; they are aware of how tired, disoriented, and how possibly injured they will become. They know they will face great physical, mental, emotional, and possibly spiritual challenges as they make their way to the finish. This is what they are racing against. This is their challenge. This is what ...I admire." - Carolyn Erdman
Dan, Chad, and Jim set off in front of Charles, Psyche, and I since they were planning on a faster run. I looked at my watch and it showed my run beginning at 4:17 A.M.
Off we headed into the darkness up Pinnacle Mountain...