Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Run For Research (R4R) Wrap-Up

This year's event was our first with significant rain.  Last year's run had a few legs where the skies opened up, but it was nothing like this year.  This weekend's run to Boone was wet and wild right from the start.  We departed from Cullowhee in the rain and battled the elements for at least the first 25 legs of the run.  This year's event included a near-disaster run-in with a tree, but otherwise was fairly injury-free.  I believe this was the first event in several years where every participant completed all five legs of their run without a single injury-related withdrawal.  As predicted, this year's team of runners was the fastest ever on the Parkway, by far!  Our finishing time was an incredible 25 hours 17 minutes and 2 seconds.  This crushed the 2013 Cullowhee to Boone record of 27:25:49 by over two hours.  It also bested the 2014 all-time fastest R4R time of 27:08:18.  If this is the event's swansong, which I hope it is not, it was certainly a great way to finish!  Thanks everyone for your continued support of the R4R and the WCU Athletic Training Program.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Whee Rise, Whee Shine, Whee Run Together

Whee did it. Today after 8 weeks of training, we ran the 25 miles. Through the rain, 
through the fog, through the heavy breathing, through the sweat, through the creepy animal sounds in the dark, through the night, 
through the beautiful scenic parkway, 

We did it. We ran. We conquered.
The best part, is we finished with arms linked high above our heads as we tagged off our last team. 

This is our team. This is our A.T family. This is what bonding looks like. 

Thank you to everyone who supported, encouraged, and motivated us along the way. But most importantly, thank you Jay and Jill for making this run possible and for being so dedicated to this program and your students! 

We are going to miss you Jay...a lot. 
-Erin, Jason, Danny

3 and done no more leg 34

Nighthawk and Maverick (grey and Luke) have landed. This was our third and final mission. 3yr veterans we join an elite club and are ready to retire our running shoes on the R4R. Thanks everyone for the support! Over and out!


-D.Rivas. First ever R4R is pretty much in the books! More than thankful for my group (Jason and Erin), could not have done it with out them. Feels great to say I ran 25 miles on the parkway. It was one heck of an adventure and it brought us even closer. Now just to run the last quarter mile with Adam and dalton to finish up the run. Wow what an experience. 

Leg #32 - The Viaduct in the Dark

Jacob and Jay's final leg was full of surprises.  The first was a run across the viaduct (arguably the Parkway's most scenic view) that had us anticipating an amazing sunrise.  Unfortunately, we ran too fast as a team and, as a result, we emded up running the viaduct in the dark.  Fortunately, as we finished the run, the sun was coming up and gave us one incredible treat.  The second surprise, the  one we weren't excited about, was that the miles are mismarked, making our run 5.6 miles in length.  After all the anticipation, we struggled / waddled home in 45 minutes for just over an 8 minute pace.  This was a great eighth R4R for me.  Having Jacob as a running partner was a great experience and one I will always treasure.

Leg #29 Parkway Battle

Seeing mile marker 315 was the most amazing feeling ever! Happy feet and the terminator (Brennan and April) finished this last set of 5 miles strong! It was a pure battle between Brennan and I and the parkway. We triumphed over the uphills and conquered the downhills! Once we saw the last mile marker in site we used every ounce of energy we had and sprinted the last 0.2 miles.
These newbies can finally say we've officially completed the run for research! Leggooooo!!

I Can't Even

Whoever judged this run last time was slightly incorrect. Hard does not completely incorporate the brutality of that last run. Annoying, scary, and infuriating are just a few of the PG words I would use to describe it. Only one more though. Probably going to sprint it. Dalton and Adam out.

The gradual incline to never never land leg 27

Mission update: Maverick and Nighthawk (luke and Greylin) on bingo fuel. Need refuel I repeat need refuel. Mission moral is low. After a gradual uphill for what seemed like forever we are ready for a hopefully long long nap. 20 miles down 5 to go! 

Leg #25: Dead Legs & Downhills

Jacob and Jay's fourth run was a beautiful mix of ups and downs.  The first and last mile featured small uphill climbs, while the middle three miles was a glorious downhill adventure.  At this point of the R4R, no run is easy but this was certainly a welcome break from another long climb.  We are currently on pace as a team to run 25 hours!  We have ten total legs to go.  We will see how we hold up in the home stretch.  Thanks for everyone's support and encouragement!  

Leg #24 - "I Have Nothing Nice to Say About That Run"

Mostly uphill and our fourth leg of the race, this run was absolutely our toughest so far. Jill and The Struggle Bus followed us closely as we trekked along in the fog through the Twin Tunnels and up to Crabtree Falls. Decked out in our reflective vests and headlamps (Sarah skipped out on the headlamp), we closely resembled minions as we successfully ascended each hill and continued to meet our sub-50 minute goal. We have one leg left and are eagerly awaiting showers at Lees-McRae College and BBQ lunch in Banner Elk.

Go team. On to the last one. 

Leg #22 The Trickery Trot

I (Brennan) was so excited for this run when it started. A nice relaxed down hill for 3 miles, but then things changed. A comfortable 7 min pace morphed into a grueling 9min uphill battle with fog and shear exhaustion. I (Brennan) was so close to collapsing as my heart beat rapidly in my ears. This run was a dirty trick.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Shooting Stars

Memoirs to our Mothers. Dalton and I survived run three. Tara, Dalton was instrumental in driving back the pack of bears that tried to attack us. His hand to paw combat is phenomenal. Jeanette, Adam successfully navigated the flooded portions of the parkway while keeping Dalton free of hypothermia by carrying him through the knee deep water. Our last obstacle was the troll bridge. I sweet talked the Trolls long enough to allow Dalton to sneak across, he then shot the Trolls with a tranquilizer gun so I could meet him on the other side. All in all it was a very eventful and inspiring run. It is now nap time, so in the words of my favorite football team from my favorite football movie, "Remember the Titans", na naa naaa na, na naa naaa na, heey heey heey, goodbye. On a more serious note, there was a lot of down hill, and we saw some shooting stars.

Valley of the ghost mice leg 20

Nighthawk and maverick (grey and Luke) began our leg with a steady accent into the clouds. After reaching the peak of our flight we were cleared for danger close flying at low altitudes over our comrades, the field mice. They made for great companions until we came under fire from the enemy: the last mile of straight up hill.... It sucked.. Nothing else to say....

Leg #18: Thankful For The Dark

Leg 3 for Jacob and Jay was another uphill adventure!  The climb was a brutal five miles up Mount Mitchell, the highest point in North Carolina.  Total climb was 1300 feet but thanks to dark, overcast skies, and a steady rain / a torrential downpour, we only had 5 feet of visibility. That made a miserable run way more bearable because we couldn't see what lay ahead..... We just kept trudging along semi-oblivious to the mountain we were scaling.  Total time of the run 48 minutes.  Three down and two to go.  

15 miles in for the newbs!

-D.Rivas. We just finished our 3rd leg! It was the worst one yet but we fought through and finished strong. Couldn't do it without my running partners. Whee ride together, whee shine together and whee die together! Almost died together on that run. If it wasn't the Sasquatch in the woods it would have been the 5 miles we ran straight up mountain. Only 10 more miles!! 

Leg #17 - Nighttime Mist + Surprise

Our third leg was a steady uphill climb for the first two miles with random hills spaced out for the last three miles. Mike broke away early and finished with his quickest time. Floyd and I let him do the dirty work and kept a nice pace to enjoyed the rain/misty mess that surrounded us as nighttime fully set in. A very dead black snake on the side of the road made us jump and scream and woke us up a little. We finished strong but are for sure starting to feel the aches and pains of running the R4R. Go team. On to the next one. 

Leg #16 Onward and Upward

Onward and upward we climbed the third leg of our run!  Keeping a clear head and wet feet were gonna keep pounding away.  Bryson and I now will rest till we gotta do it again.  Three down two to go. #R4R2015.

Leg #15 Snake Attack!

Brennan and I (April) barely made it out alive! The largest, most poisonous snake in all of North America attacked us about two miles in! It jumped up and bit me in the side but luckily Brennan kicked it off the side of a mountain saving us both! 

Ok so now that story time is over. This leg was basically all down hill after mile two. Thank God!! Brennan actually did see a snake but it was just a little baby. And I had the worst side cramp ever so it felt like a snake did bit me in the side! 

Brennan pulled out in front at the last mile and we both finished our 3rd leg sub 40! Team "struggle bus" is killin' it!

The Bridges to Nowhere

Good afternoon World, this is Adam Lytle with my Co-host Dalton Greer. This is the 2nd run post game show. This second run featured two bridges, one river, one major highway, and Bambi. It was a much more difficult run than the first and left us both exhausted. We are now eagerly awaiting nap time with special guests Graylin "Long Strides" Cleery and Luke "Sky Runner" Miller. Its shaping up to be a great 3 hours of rest. We'll see you next time on The 3rd run post game show. 

Groundhog Day group 6 leg 13

Once again had a flight pattern in the rain. Nighthawk and Maverick were not to pleased but they did witness from long range cameras a ground hog running across the road presumably heading to torture Bill Murray. Still rather uneventful besides having a close call in the tunnel and ending up on the walls like a cave man drawing. Next run is this evening. You stay classy world. This is Luke Miller signing off.


No better feeling than being ahead of schedule and being able to get off the parkway to use the bathroom in civilization. -D.Rivas

Rookie mistake part 2! Leg#12

Erin, Jason and I still can't seem to figure this thing out! Luckily for Jay and Jacob this time it was in their favor. The first leg the newbs ran 4.5 because we missed the exchange point. Yet again on our second leg we messed it up again! Needless to say we ran a little extra this time. You're welcome Jay and Jacob.-D. Rivas

Leg #11: Youth Trumps Experience

Jacob and Jay started Leg #11 in a steady rain with another uphill climb.  The first 1.5 miles were a steady climb but Jacob attacked the hill at record pace.  The first mile at sub-7 was enough to leave the old man in the dust.  At the 1.5 mile mark, the climb gave way to some rolling hills.... A welcome change after lots of uphills.  Then, suddenly a glorious two plus mile descent.  Apparently Jacob, who says he can't run downhill, is sadly mistaken.  The last two miles were downhill and FAST.... Both under six minute mile pace.  So fast, in fact, that I couldn't close on him at all.  Our pace for the run was a blistering 6:42.  (Now that would make even Jeremiah Nichols proud!).... I guess youth beats experience when it comes to the R4R.

Leg #10 - Light at the End of the Tunnel

This particular rainy leg was more hilly than the first, but most of us (sorry Floyd) felt pretty good by the end of this one. Nothing too notable to report. Just lots of puddles, foggy mountains and car dodging; these leaf-lookers are touchy about sharing the road. Floyd and I (Sarah) had some technology malfunctions; apparently water and electronics don't work too well together. Anyways, the last bit of the run was through Fryingpan Tunnel where the light at the end of the tunnel ended our second leg. Go team. On to the next one. 

Here's what most of our view has been!

Cliff Hanger

Adam Lytle- First every run was great, so many wonderful views, plus soggy and soaking wet shoes; it was definitely an unforgettable experience. Started off with one driver coming in too hot. Jay nearly took a nose dive off the side of the mountain in his minivan. I'm not sure if it was safety tested for high altitude drops. Dalton Greer and I nearly got hit by a bus. A giant tour bus. Seriously. Ready to see how the next ones go. Luckily I won't need a shower at the end.

Squeezin' Cheeks (Shout Out To Ruth)

As we drove through a curtain of rain up Balsam Mountain towards the next checkpoint to wait on the second leg of runners, two of our group members,
Danny and Jason were relieved to know that they would be able to use the restroom at The Mountain County Store so they wouldn't have to (as they put) "squeeze cheeks" on the parkway where there are no bathrooms (except trees) for over 70 miles. To their dismay, the Mountain Country Store was closed.
However, there was a modest brick home behind the gas station with a resident by the name of do we know this?
Well, Danny and Jason proceeded to go knock on her door and say, "Hi we are from the Western Carolina Athletic Training Program and we are running from Cullowhee to Boone. We thought we could use the bathroom at the gas station but it's closed. May we use your restroom...? Because after this, there aren't any other places to go." Hesitantly Ruth allowed them to use her restroom and told them about her children and grandchildren. Thank you, Ruth, for allowing two young men into your home. We may be running 25 miles, but you are the real MVP. 

First Time First Leg

WE DID IT! Well...the first leg. This is what the weather looked like when we started

We finished our first leg in about 45 minutes. Words to describe this run: hills, wet, cold, tired, accomplished. 1 down 4 to go. That run was our hardest and we killed it. We can do this. More pictures and blogs to come. 
Oh and I may be the only runner to do this relay and put make up on before...this was the after math of makeup in a rainy run 
4 more! 

Leg #8 Water We Doing!?

When it started, April and I (Brennan) had to wait far too long, of our own misjudgment, for Adam and Dalton to finish. The rain was like ice and the wind insane, blustery and cold. I swear the temperature went down as we were standing there. The run was full of waterfalls and puddles and rain. It was a struggle to keep up with the terminator (April) an unstoppable machine with one pace, fast. It ended with the inability to move my hands, making changing clothes rather difficult.

I can't see my house from here

Group 6: Leg 6: Nighthawk and Maverick (Greylin and Luke) reporting to base camp, mission was a success despite heavy rains, zero visibility, and rough flight pattern. Our pattern flew us right over the peak of the parkway making for an interesting accent into the clouds and a failed photoshoot at the peak. 

Leg #4- Rookie Mistake / A Little Extra For R.T. Floyd

Jacob Scifers and Jay Scifers took on Leg #4 in a steady rain and brought the R4R on to the Parkway.  The Parkway has a funny way of telling you that no matter what shape you are in, you should have run more hills in preparation.  This five (plus) miles could be the poster child for the "run more hills" motto.  We climbed 1535 feet in just over 5 miles (more about that in a second).  It was a rude welcome to Jacob in his first R4R.  But, then again, the Parkway can be a rude host to even the most seasoned runners.  

The leg ended up being about 5.6 miles.  Rookie drivers had trouble navigating the distance in he absence of a mile marker, leaving us to run a little extra.  We kept a good pace, but lost our sense of humor the last part of the run, running just under 44 minutes for the hilly leg.  

Leg #3 - Bridge Out!

Mike, Floyd and I (Sarah) started our first leg at The (closed) Mountain View gas station. We started out at a nice pace and Mike swiftly took the lead (even though he's slow). We passed some lovely scenery, including mountains tucked amongst foggy rain, bursts of fall-colored leaves, and a couple bloated dead frogs. About two miles in, we got to a bridge that is under construction......

I (Mike) decided to run right up to where the bridge was out. I was forced to take an alternate route which consisted of backtracking on a small path with many muddy puddles. I should have taken a leap off the bridge while I had the chance because the next 3 miles were uphill! 

.......We ended up running along the side of the bridge on about a foot of concrete with no railing that dropped off into a river.. But we all survived and lived to make it up a solid uphill finish. Go team. On to the next one.

Leg #2- Roadkill Uphill

One down four to go!  Nothing like some cold water to wake you up in the morning... Bryson and I (Jackson) have finished our first leg and it looks like we were some of lucky ones to attempt our route... For there were plenty fallen comrades on the side of the road(raccoons,opossums...).  Nevertheless we will persevere and give our best effort until it's over.  Let's keep it up team! #R4R2015.

Leg #1 - Wet Donuts

Brennan and I (April) just finished up the run from the gates at the football stadium at WCU to Dunkin Donuts. The rain and wind made this run so much more enjoyable! And running on highway 107 with cars coming at you at 65 mph was totally not scary (I might be a very sarcastic person). 

Pinching cheeks

2nd leg in and the adventure already begins! We get to the mountain country store expecting to find it open with a nice bathroom for us to use and it's closed. Awesome. Nevertheless, shout out to Ruth for letting two strangers come in and use her bathroom. We couldn't do it with out ya Ruth! Jason and I thank you Ruth. You're the best. 

2015 Run for Research Group

The 2015 R4R team preparing to leave the campus of WCU en route to ASU.  

8:09 am.... And they are off

The 2015 R4R is off to a rainy start.  A little after 8 am this morning, sophomores Brennan Dorsch and April Duke departed from the campus of WCU.  This is Leg #1 of 35 for the group as they traverse the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway on their trek to Boone and the campus of ASU.

Friday, October 9, 2015

2015 Run for Research

The 2015 edition of the Run for Research begins on Saturday, October 10, 2015.  Sixteen runners, including AT faculty members, AT graduate assistants, junior, sophomore and freshmen, will take to the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend running the 175 miles from Cullowhee to Boone in relay fashion.

This year's participants include: Professor Jay Scifers (8th R4R), Graduate Assistant Sarah McNamara (4th R4R), juniors Greylin Cleary (3rd R4R), Floyd Graber (2nd R4R), Dalton Greer (3rd R4R), Luke Miller (3rd R4R), Michael Rabey, Danny Rivas, Jackson Roper (2nd R4R), and Jason Shull, sophomores Bryson Bradley, Brennen Dorsch, April Duke, and Erin Grimsley and freshmen Adam Lytle and Jacob Scifers.  

The run begins at 8 am on Saturday and the group expects to complete the run in Boone Sunday morning at ~10 am.  We are chasing the course record of 27 hours, 8 minutes and 18 second.  Please follow and support us as we raise money for the NATA Foundation.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Run for Research Wrap-Up

The 2014 version of the Run for Research (our seventh trip up and down the Parkway) ended in the rain in Cullowhee.  A great team effort resulted in another record time this year.  We tackled the hills, fog and rain over the 175 miles between Boone and Cullowhee in an amazing 27 hours 8 minutes and 18 seconds (17 minutes and 31 seconds faster than 2013).  This equated to a 9:18 pace each mile. 

We want to thank everyone for their support along the run and for their donations / pledges to this event.  We will continue accepting donations to the REF through the end of the semester.  We look forward to another great run in 2015!