May 20, 2012

Diane Van Deren took it easy today. She only covered 30 miles on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

“Our goal today was to get her rested up,” said Joel Fleming, who led the day’s support effort. After several days of wet, blister-inducing pain this past week, Van Deren did back-to-back 40-plus-mile days Friday and Saturday, getting her back on course to break the MST crossing record of 24 days.

Diane Van Deren (center) flanked by Sunday's great guide team

Today began at Stone Mountain State Park at 7:45 a.m. and ended at 5:15 p.m. about 10 miles shy of Pilot Mountain State Park. Van Deren had plenty of company on the trail today. Abran Moore Todd Williams were her official trail guides for the day and Annette Bednosky, who guided Van Deren for two days early on, from Mount Pisgah to Balsam Gap, returned for Van Deren’s last hurrah in the mountains. Kate Dixon, executive director of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, was along for seven miles, and “some guy named Eric” who’d heard Van Deren was passing through put in four miles, Fleming reports.

As for those blistered feet, Fleming reports “they look better than they have since they got messed up.” That was another reason for taking an “easy” 30-mile day.

On Monday, Day 12 of her MST Endurance Run, the plan is for a big mileage day.

“The goal is 50 miles,” Fleming said this evening. “That’s what Diane would like to do. But we’ll see how she’s feeling.”

After putting in at yesterday’s stop 10 miles west of Pilot Mountain, Van Deren will pick up the Sauratown Trail between Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock, then proceed on to Walnut Cove.

Through her first 11 days, Van Deren has covered 388 miles, with roughly 560 to go.