I want to start out my final Ultimate Hike 2012 update by thanking CureSearch for putting on such a wonderful event! It was very well-managed from start to finish and I am glad to have been a part of it. Over the past three months, I have met some amazing people, have pushed myself beyond my perceived limits and have developed a new appreciation for what a few truly inspired individuals can accomplish. As of hike day, Charlotte Ultimate Hike had raised over $196,000 for children’s cancer research, and that figure is expected to exceed $225,000 when all is said and done. That’s nearly a quarter of a million dollars! Thanks to you and the hundreds of other financial supporters, we set a new single hike record for funds raised.
My goals for Ultimate Hike 2012 were to: 1) Raise money for children’s cancer research; 2) Raise awareness for children’s cancer research; and 3) Finish the 28.3 mile hike in 11 hours or less. I am disappointed to say that I was only able to achieve the first two of these goals, as an accident on the trail forced me to withdraw at Aid Station #3 (22 miles).
The day started out great. It was cool and overcast when I hit the trail at 7:15 AM. I covered the first 4.7 miles — to Aid Station #1 — in an hour and 22 minutes… a solid 18 minute mile pace over some moderately difficult terrain. The next seven miles to aid station #2 took a little longer (20 minute per mile average), but I was still making great time as I headed out on the longest and most difficult part of the trail, the ten miles between Aid Station #2 and Aid Station #3. This part of the trail was very rocky and uneven, with multiple elevation changes as it wound along the banks of a river. Somewhere between the 18 and 19 mile mark, I was crossing a shallow stream and lost my footing on the mossy rocks. I took a pretty good fall, bruising my left knee and cutting my shin.
Fortunately, one of the CureSearch team was hiking right behind me with the first aid kit and got the cut disinfected and bandaged. At that point, I thought I might be able to finish, albeit limping the rest of the way, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that it was going to be all I could do just to make it out of the woods and to the next aid station. And that was the end of my Ultimate Hike 2012 experience.
I did finish 22 of the 28.3 miles, but obviously I am disappointed by the outcome. After all the hours and miles of training, I would really have liked to cross that finish line. But, looking on the positive side, I know that I gave it my very best shot and ultimately made a difference — with your assistance — in the lives of children battling cancer. Thank you again for your support.