Crew Access Points

Well, my first of hopefully several posts to the PTAR blogsite in the coming weeks. I'm already getting questions about where volunteers and supporters can see these two studs come out of the trail at major road crossings. I'll be working up a list of major crew access points along with estimated schedule, driving directions, and a link to Google Maps. But in the short-term, you can surf to the Pinhoti Trail Alliance site for driving directions on the Alabama side:

On the Georgia, the GPTA site has two great documents with hiking and driving directions

Check back over the weekend for updates on the first day of running along with the list of crew access points.

Josh Kennedy

Testing the limits of the human heart on the Pinhoti Trail

"A warrior prepares fully and purposely for war.  He focuses on the impending battle and trains his body, mind and soul to act with strength and cunning.  He lives a spartan existence, denying luxuries that would sap his resolve.  He has the desire, motivation, discipline, belief, self-esteem, confidence, courage and mental toughness to win in battle.  He prepares a wise strategy, dwells on it, and executes it while staying calm in battle and fending off pain and fatigue.  The warrior prepares to fight the ultimate fight and face the ultimate defeat." - Warrior Attitude

In less than six days Rob Youngren and I will set out on a journey that will try more than our physical abilities but will test the limits of the human heart. No amount of training could prepare us for the challenges that we will come across while navigating along the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail, though we have prepared diligently.  I fully expect to experience a wide range of emotions from the immense highs to the bottomless lows and everything in between. This will easily by the most difficult task that I have ever attempted in all my 34 years, running or otherwise. At last check of the plan, our mileage will average around 50 miles a day, as we make the most of the daylight hours while maximizing the nightly recovery for up to seven days or until the end. Yes, we will have support along the way in the form of a crew chief and pacers at times, but the bottom line is that our feet must carry us along the way while our minds tell us that the pain is too much to handle. We will undoubtedly take a wrong turn, miss a trail marker or run out of fuel.  There will be fatigue, blisters, stomach issues, poison ivy, bleeding wounds and mind games that will attempt to hinder our progress, yet we will battle it day after day.  The trick will be to minimize the mistakes in order to put ourselves in the best position to succeed.   Neither Rob nor myself have ever tried anything so daunting as what we are about to embark upon and the deck clearly seems stacked against us.

Yet none of this will get in our way of this team of ultra runners will set the Fastest Known Time on the Pinhoti Trail and dare others to follow in our footsteps.

We will not stop.

I am confident in our joint ability to turn the impossible to possible.

Our strength will be our resolve.

"There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet."  - William F. Halsey

Pinhoti Trail Adventure Run

Starting on May 1, 2010, a team of two ultra runners from Northern Alabama will attempt to set the Fastest Known Time on the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail.

In March 2008, the Pinhoti Trail was officially linked to the Appalachian Trail by way of the Benton-MacKaye Trail. In Alabama, most of the trail lies within the Talledega National Forest as it begins near Weogufka and traverses along the ridge line for 175 miles northeast to Tecumsah at the Georgia border. From there, the Georgia section of the Pinhoti Trail travels another 150 miles to the Benton MacKaye Trail, which is a connector to the Appalachian Trail.

Attempting this adventure run are Rob Youngren and Eric Charette of Huntsville, Alabama. Born in Woodland, California and attending the Virgina Military Institute for a degree if Physics, Youngren has a long history of ultra running, have completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in 107 hours during 1998. Rob has completed over 130 ultra marathons in his career and more recently won the Antarctica Marathon and is a member of the Wasatch Speed Goats. Originally from Kingsford. Michigan, Charette has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Eric has a more recent resume of ultra running with some impressive performances and was selected to the 2010 Team inov-8 US for ultra running.

"I've had this idea to run the Pinhoti Trail for some time now and am excited that it is now coming to fruition," noted Youngren. "The Pinhoti Trail is the 3rd longest National Recreation Trail in the United States according to American Trails and we are hoping to bring to awareness to this fantastic trail system and the volunteers who maintain it."

Guiding them along this journey and serving as crew chief will be Josh Kennedy of Huntsville, Alabama. Josh has run every section of the Alabama Pinhoti trail and with his military background he will diligently guide Youngren and Charette along their voyage. Josh himself is no stranger to long miles on the trail, having completed over 70 ultras and marathons, including a sub-24hr finish last year at the Arkansas Traveller 100 Miler.

"When Rob and Eric first approached me with this idea I was on board right away as I knew that this was going to be an epic adventure," stated Kennedy. In addition to the national trail running sponsors, the trio run locally in non-ultra distance road races for the Nike Fleet Feet Racing Team in Huntsville.

This adventure run will be an attempt to establish the Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the Pinhoti by running it end-to-end. The attempt was publicly declared on the Fastest Known Time website on December 1, 2009. In keeping with the "rules" for FKT attempts as noted by Peter Bakwin and generally accepted by the ultra running masses, Youngren and Charette have created a website to track the progress of the effort which can be found at During the adventure run, near real time status updates will be made and once the event is over, all official distances and notes will be complied and documented for future attempts to break the record. Follow along with Twitter updates at

To reach the team, please contact Josh Kennedy at (256) 541-2594 or at More information on the trail can be found at the Pinhoti Trail Alliance website or on the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Alliance website at

Updated Daily Schedule

Although there are a lot of mileage combinations, here is what looks reasonable. Josh Kennedy has all of the variations on this should we need to make adjustments.

Day 1 on May 1. 2010: 52.3 miles Start Flagg Mountain with end Skyway Road Crossing
Cumulative Total Mileage: 52.3

Day 2 on May 2. 2010: 48.7 miles Start Skyway Road Crossing with; end I-20 Crossing
Cumulative Total Mileage: 101.0

Day 3 on May 3. 2010: 54.0 miles Start I-20 Crossing with end CR 70 / Maxwell Gap Crossing
Cumulative Total Mileage: 155.0

Day 4 on May 4. 2010: 48.3 miles Start CR 70 / Maxwell Gap Crossing with end Simms Mountain Trailhead
Cumulative Total Mileage: 203.3

Day 5 on May 5. 2010: 54.0 miles Start Simms Mountain Trailhead with Snake Creek Gap Trailhead
Cumulative Total Mileage: 257.3

Day 6 on May 6. 2010: 46.9 miles Start Snake Creek Gap Trailhead with end Baker Branch Trailhead
Cumulative Total Mileage: 304.2

Day 7 on May 7. 2010: 30.7 miles Start Baker Branch Trailhead with end Benton MacKaye Trail
Cumulative Total Mileage: 334.9