The Suffering Will End

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, June 22, 2013

It was a cool spring. There were a few warm days during the week, but every weekend brought mild temperatures that didn't add stress to training.

Then Challenge Day arrived, and so did the heat. The day started in the low 60s, but pushed well into the 80s during the afternoon with abundant sunshine. Plans were scrapped; strategies were adjusted; goals were renegotiated. There weren't enough hot days prior to this to become acclimated to these temperatures, the Full Challenge completion rate of 71%, the lowest in 8 years, reflects that.

Still many pushed forward, enduring the suffering, knowing that it will end eventually. Sure, they could quit and end the suffering immediately. But many knew that if they did that, the psychological suffering they'd have to endure for the next year — the regret, the second-guessing — would be worse. So they kept going.

Although no one was seriously hurt, several people went to the hospital and were treated for dehydration.

For the 34-mile Full Challenge, we had 541 participants scan out at North Park, and 385 or 71.1% made it to Harrison Hills Park within the official time of 15 hours, 4 minutes. This is the lowest since 2005.

For the 17-mile Homestead Challenge, we had 180 participants scan out at Springdale High School, and 146 or 81.1% reached Harrison Hills Park. Of those, 109 (60.5%) made it within the official time of 7 hours, 30 minutes.

For the 7-mile Friends & Family Challenge, we had 24 groups set out from Tarentum, and all but two officially made it to Harrison Hills Park.

Special thanks to our wonderful volunteer crew: Colin Albright, Joyce Appel, Anne Argenta, John Armstrong, Joanie Baker, Robert Bastone, Mary Bates, Tom Bates, John Battick, Yvonne Battick, Lisa Beers, Steve Beers, Donna Bird, Robert Black, Elizabeth Bond, Cheryl Boyle, Dick Boyle, Charles Brethauer, Kim Brown, Leslie Buchwald, John Cancro, Valerie Carpenter, Kelsey Chapman, Tony Chick, David Ciuchta, Laura Ciuchta, Linda Connors, Kelly Cossey, Bruce Cridlebaugh, Jim Crist, Mike Dailey, Lou Dawson, Suzanne Dees, William Dietrich, Rudy Duda, Patricia Eckels, Lisa Eger, Don Erdeljac, David Fair, Craig Fowler, Bob Graham, Patrick Grudzinsky, Tim Hagan, Paul Henry, Jerry Hoffman, Jim Holloway, John Hoover, John Italiano, Anthony Joint, Diane Kass, Levi Kerlick, Nathaniel Kern, Shawn Kerstetter, Chris Klemens, Keith Klos, Ryan Knecht, Jason Kodat, Rhett Landry, Ed Lewkowicz, Leah Manchester, Maura McCarl-Chick, David Mcclelland, David McConahy, Joyce McConahy, Chelsey McCoy, Ceri Morgan, Julie Ann Mountain, Cathy Nader-Syiek, Jim Painter, Ben Primis, Jay Rajgopal, Prem Rajgopal, Jessica Rawson, Brendan Redler, Linda Richardson, Karen Rivetti, David Rizzo, Denise Ropelewski, Beth Rudolph, David Schramm, Linda Shaffer, Susan Shages, Andrea Shymatta, Ulf Skreppen, Jack Stitt, Anastasia Stolz, Donna Stolz, John Stolz, Sharon Svitek, Sharon Svitek, David Syiek, Gregory Syiek, Laura Tufts, Ron Verdi, Bob Vickers, Lee Wagner, Alexandria Ward, Carol Ward, Linda Xenophontos, Carol Zellars, and Liz Zorn.