Category Archives: Running

Four days in, Van Deren hits her stride on MST Endurance Run

Annette Bednosky leads Diane Van Deren into a rest stop on Day 3 of the MST Endurance Run.

A large building loomed out of the dark woods to our right.
“Is that the Folk Arts Center?” Annette Bednosky asked slightly perplexed. It was — the very same Folk Arts Center we’d set off from 15 minutes earlier, at 5:01 this morning.
“Well,” said Diane Van Deren, “we just did a 14-minute warmup lap.”
To Van Deren, it was a “so-what” moment. When you’re spending up to 20 hours a day for 21 days hiking a thousand miles, what’s 15 minutes?
This morning was the start of Day 4 of Van Deren’s attempt to break the speed record for trekking the entire Mountains-to-Sea Trail, from Clingman’s Dome on the Tennessee border to Jockey’s Ridge on the coast. Her MST Endurance Run is sponsored by The North Face (Van Deren is one of the outdoor gear company’s elite athletes) and the Great Outdoor Provision Co. The goal: raise awareness — and $40,000 — for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a work-in-progress trail spanning North Carolina.
Since starting her quest before dawn on Thursday, Van Deren has covered about 145 miles. Read on … read more

56 (and still counting!)

A year ago today, I wrote about all the things I planned to do in my 55th year. 55 things, in fact, all tied to the number 55. My inspiration came in large part from a National Institutes of Health report noting that men generally start dropping weight and, the report added, start falling apart at 55. If that’s the case, I thought, then I need to start working extra hard. read more

MST Endurance Run: Diane Van Deren sets off to run across North Carolina in 21 days

Diane Van Deren and me during a visit to the Triangle last fall that sparked the MST Endurance Run.

Today, Thursday, May 10, marks the start of elite ultra runner Diane Van Deren’s effort to run across North Carolina, a roughly 1,000-mile journey that will take her along the work-in-progress Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Clingman’s Dome on the Tennessee border to Jockey’s Ridge at the lip of the Atlantic. Her objective: to finish in 21 days, beating the current speed record of 24 days, 3 hours and 50 minutes set last year by Matt Kirk. read more

This weekend: Take a coastal hike, learn about Grandfather, go on one vine run

Mallard Creek (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

Mother’s Day means time spent with mom — preferably in the great outdoors. Take mom on a coastal hike, unravel the mysteries of Grandfather Mountain, or run with her through a vineyard. Whatever you do, it’s bound to be memorable.


Nothing says Mother’s Day outing more, to us, than a relaxed ramble through a coastal wetland. Which is no doubt what the folks at Goose Creek State Park outside Washington on the Pamlico Sound had in mind when they scheduled Sunday’s Mallard Creek Hike. “Enjoy a fresh breath of air and experience nature at its best. The hike will be an easy 1.5 miles and taken at a pace which will allow you to relax and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature.” Hallmark couldn’t have said it better. read more

MST Endurance Run: My taste of the ultra life

Diane Van Deren and me during a visit to the Triangle last fall that sparked the MST Endurance Run.

The entry in my workout log yesterday read, “Run for Diane, 7.4 miles @ Umstead, hot — and slow.”

Frankly, it was 7.4 miles I likely wouldn’t have run — in upper 80-degree heat — were it not for Diane Van Deren.

Diane Van Deren, ultra runner, elite The North Face athlete,  and former women’s tennis pro will spend most of this month running across North Carolina. On Thursday, she’ll set off from atop Clingman’s Dome in hopes of running nearly 1,000 miles along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in just 21 days in the MST Endurance Run. The current record — yes, it’s been done before — is 24 days (24 days, 3 hours and 50 minutes, to be exact, set last year by Matt Kirk. read more