It's a Test

The 2012 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge

It all lead up to this. The months of training, the planning, the preparation. The stair climbing, the trail hikes in the rain, the cold, the heat. This is when it all pays off, not only in being able to finish, but with a good time, too. And, as a bonus, with less soreness the next day.

The one big "known unknown" is the weather. If it's hot, strategies crumble and plans get tossed out the window in the struggle to keep going. Fortuitously, the Challenge landed between several hot days and was almost a carbon-copy of last year. The day started off in the upper 50s and rose into the low 80s in the late afternoon. It was blue sky all day, without a hint of rain.

For many, their training did its job. We had a record high completion rate of nearly 86% for the Full Challenge, and a number of people established new personal best times. None of the runners, however, came close to Dario Donatelli's 2010 performance of 6:08 (when the course was a mile longer!) — not even Dario himself.

For the 34-mile Full Challenge, we had 582 participants scan out at Harrison Hills Park, and 500 or 85.9% made it to North Park, all within the official time of 15 hours, 4 minutes. This barely edges out the previous record completion rate of 85.8% in 2008.

For the 17-mile Homestead Challenge, we had 186 participants scan out at Springdale High School, and 172 or 92.5% reached North Park. Of those, 155 (83.3%) made it within the official time of 7 hours, 38 minutes.

For the 7-mile Friends & Family Challenge, we had 22 groups set out from Hartwood Acres, and all made it to North Park.

Special thanks to our dedicated volunteer crew: Joyce Appel, John Armstrong, Mary Bates, Tom Bates, George Bender, Jan Berg, Charlie Brethauer, Patty Brunner, Leslie Buchwald, Reanna Buzza, Sheri Buzza, John Cancro, Todd Chambers, Ariel Clatty, Janet Cordero, Don Cornman, Scott Creveling, Jim Crist, Mike Dailey, Pete Dawida, Pat Demko, Eric Deutsch, Bill Dietrich, Joe Downing, Patricia Eckels, Mark Eyerman, Anne Flynn Schlicht, Dwight Fox, Janet Fox, Steven Graf, Robert Habegger, Tim Hagan, Paul Henry, Jerry Hoffman, Ryan Hoffman, Jim Holloway, John Hoover, John Italiano, Eric Kelley, Kathleen Kelly, Joe Kostka, John Kostka, Melissa Kramer, Joe Kulbacki, Val Kunkel, Mary Lynn Marsico, Nick Mance, Hilary March, David McClelland, David McConahy, Joyce McConahy, Dave Meyer, Desiree Nikolic, Mark Nischalke, Jim Painter, Ben Primis, Madelynn Primis, Jay Rajgopal, Gary Reichert, Karen Rivetti, Denise Ropelewski, Tom Sarabok, Gail Schlichtkrull, Ken Schlictkrull, David Schramm, Linda Shaffer, Susie Shages, Charles Sheppard, Andrea Shymatta, John Stephen, Donna Stolz, John Stolz, Jennifer Taylor, Paula Tuttle, Jason Ussack, Lee Wagner, Erin Ward, Nicole Ward, Candi Wills, Linda Xenophontos, Mark Yokim, Shirley Young, and Liz Zorn.