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Monday, November 6, 2023

Paumanok Trail Ultra

This weekend, I set out to run the 125-mile Paumanok Path. The self-supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) was set in 2017 by Tom Dee, which broken by Justin Kousky’s unsupported attempt. However, Tom Dee’s record is the goal I set for myself. The “Self-supported” style allows you to put supplies along the route, but no one can assist on race day. The day before the race, I dropped 12 bags of nutrition. I had a friend follow me 1.5 hours to Montauk to park my van, and bring me to the beginning. Once I set out that morning, I would be completely on my own.

I have always been drawn to pristine, wild lands - so much so that I made a career out of conserving them. But like all good things, the best quality places are hard to get to. Long distance hiking & running help me see the heart of beautiful places in little time. There’s nothing that makes me feel more connected and curious than being deep in some wild land. 

Although it would’ve been cool to reach my goal, it wasn’t my main goal. The effort was a little over 35 hours of (almost) non-stop moving and, of course, I missed the goal by just a bit despite an all-out sprint at the end haha. I say “almost non-stop moving” because around mile 28, I was forced to take an emergency 2-hour break as animals had eaten the food in my first drop bag 20 miles back, causing me to bonk. Fortunately, my body recovered with rest and I was able to continue. 

Truly, this trail is one of the most incredible trail systems I’ve encountered. It showcases the diverse ecology and beauty of Long Island. It passes through several towns and seamlessly stitches together dozens of state parks, preserves and tribal lands. It passes by my office, the farm I live on, and the land I protect. It’s a wonder why Paumanok Trail isn’t better known. 

Another memorable adventure in the books. I feel as though I’ve gotten to know my new home a lil better.

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