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 …

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