The 2000 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge
I just wanted to send you a short note to thank you for all your efforts in organizing an event such as the "challenge". I hope that everyone made it safely to their destination and that there were no serious injuries.

Dario Donatelli and Son.

p.s. We'll contemplate future participation in the event as physical and mental pain of yesterday become fond and distant memories.
I participated in the Rachel Carson Challenge this past weekend and just wanted to drop you a quick line to thank you for the opportunity. It was unlike any other endurance race I've ever done. Thank you and all of the volunteers who gave their time to help out. It was a great event and a truly difficult challenge.

Take care,

Andy Woods
Cincinnati, OH
Rick is fine; it seems the heat was too much. After we left you, he drank some Gatorade (which I think you recommended), got cleaned up at my apartment and we went out for pizza that night. He was pretty disappointed that we didn't make it all the way. By Sunday we both had recovered enough to drive over to Johnstown. I talked to Don Erdeljac and learned he made a concerted effort to get as far as possible during the cool morning hours. We'll adjust our strategy next year.

By the way, thanks to you and Leo for setting up the Challenge. It's really a unique, fun event to be part of and I really appreciate all the work you folks do. And let me know if you need any help setting it up next year.

Just wanted to drop you a line to congratulate you on a remarkably well-run RCT Challenge this past Saturday. I had a great time and was very impressed with the volunteers' efforts to make the hike easier for all of us. Through the hike I not only challenged myself physically and mentally, but also experienced a part of Western PA I had previously never seen. Thanks again for all of your hard work in orchestrating the event. Your efforts, and those of all of the volunteers, were evident and appreciated.

Take care,

Jeff Ellis
The RC Hike was very well organized. As a hiker I was really impressed. Now if you could just do something about the temperatures.

Jim C.
I was really impressed with the organizational success of the RC challenge. Not only did it go well, but the happy treckers thanked me as they went by. An outstanding example of hard work by you and your crew of an not so easy job.

Ben (Trail Marshal and VP of Hostelling International Pittsburgh)
I had a great time last weekend. Just put me on the list for next year!

Nicole (Trail Marshal)
I was a first-time participant in the 2000 Challenge. I have included a quote from Calvin Coolidge that I thought would be an appropriate posting on the web site:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." --Calvin Coolidge

I finished the challenge along with three friends of mine. I have to say that this is one of the more challenging things that I have accomplished in my life. That day tested our persistence, determination, and discipline. Around the 20 mile mark, I had noticed problems with my shins and related muscle groups (Tibius Anterior). Going into the Challenge, I vowed that quitting was not an option and that we would all finish the trail by days-end. So, I pushed for the remaining 14 miles (at some points on my hands and knees). It would have been very easy to say "I quit" and fall out of the race. Quitting was not an option.

I found out the following Monday that I had separated by Tibius Anterior muscle from my Tibia on both legs. My doctor was amazed how I was able to complete the hike (pain and loss of strength) in this condition. My teammates suffered from severe leg cramping, chaffing, swollen feet, and blisters. A lot of people think that my continued effort in the hike was not the smartest decision to make. I beg to differ. I was physically able to complete the Challenge. Even though I may have made my condition worse by continuing, I know that I have the strength and discipline to overcome physical impediments and meet my goals. I think this day was more a test of mental conditioning than it was physical. I think that these feelings were shared by my teammates and the numerous participants who completed the Challenge.

I wanted to share my experience with you as an example of the dedication, persistence, and discipline that was present in everybody during that day. I saw many hikers that were persistently pushing forward in light of their aches, pains, and injuries. I would like to congratulate all who completed the challenge. I think we all have one thing in common: we are people who face life's challenges and difficulties head-on and do not quit in the face of these challenges and difficulties.

Good luck throughout the year and hope to see you next year.

Joe Wolf
It was a pleasure to meet you and all the volunteers on Saturday. I wanted to compliment you on a truly enjoyable and well organized event. It was great to meet all the walkers from different backgrounds and age groups. What an interesting variety of people your event attracts. I was also amazed at how clear that previously overgrown section of the trail was. It was almost unrecognizable. I'll probably see more of you and the other folks in the future since I plan on joining AYH ASAP. Just out of my perverse curiosity, how many people wound up finishing on Saturday? Again, thanks for everything Jim.

Kevin O'Connor
Sorry, forgot the best part - yes we got out and did approx 4 miles between North Park and Boston Market. It went really well. The renewed family route directions were in case the internal personnel didn't work out with rides etc., but it did, and we are already looking forward to next year. How many folks finished? Thanks again.