Jeremiah and Jay's fourth leg started at approximately 3 AM. Leg four is traditionally known as the Buffalo Leg because after 15 miles of hilly Parkway terrain, miles 16-20 must be conquered on wobbly legs, supporting a tired frame that has subsided on snack foods and little sleep. Leg four also occurs in the wee-hours of the morning of day two when everyone is beginning to get a little short on patience. I have to admit, I was dreading this run because I knew it would be somewhat hilly and my body was feeling totally spent.
The run started harmlessly enough with a steady downhill for the first mile. Then came a steady climb for two miles. These hills were not terrible by Blue Ridge Parkway standards but given the fact that we were running the dreaded leg four, they seemed worse than usual. The hills gave way to flat lands and some rolling terrain that made the push toward home seem a little more bearable. Then, suddenly, as we approached one of the many tunnels on the Parkway a huge gust a wind met us head-on. Jay offered some comforting words that "once we enter the tunnel, the wind will stop". Of course, once again, Jay should not be offering advice on these runs. The runners entered the tunnel and were immediately stood-upright by what seemed to be a 30 mile per hour head-wind. The tunnel was less than 200 meters in length, but it made an impression.
The final mile was flat and rolling hills and made the run tolerable. This run demonstrated the ultimate power of teamwork, with Jeremiah leading the way in miles 1-2 and Jay pulling the youngster through the final couple miles. Our time for the run was 44:36 and we earned our antlers by conquering the dreaded leg number 4.