Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA â€“ June 1, 2012 â€“ The North Face, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, today announced that global endurance athlete Diane Van Deren completed the nearly 1000-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) in record time. Supported in part by specialty outdoor retailer Great Outdoor Provision Co., Van Deren traversed the entire state of North Carolina in 22 days, 5 hours, and 3 minutes, surpassing the previous record of 24 days, 3 hours and 50 minutes. The expedition was conceived to support the work of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (FMST), the vibrant non-profit that builds, protects and promotes North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST). The MST Endurance Run has raised $26,000 since the expedition began.
â€œIt was surreal,â€ said Diane Van Deren. â€œWe hit the trail at 4:26 this morning. I knew it was the final stretch, and something clicked inside me. I think I ran my best marathon today. I felt wonderfulâ€¦no emotions, just running. With the Great Outdoor Provision Co. and The North Face behind me, there was so much love, support and trust. I couldn’t have done it with them.â€
The MST Endurance Run is collaboration between Diane Van Deren, The North Face and the Great Outdoor Provision Co. and was designed to bring attention to the effort to finish, preserve and protect the iconic southeastern trail. Joined by trail guides, elite ultrarunners and the general public, Van Deren had statewide support that helped her make North Carolina history. She officially completed the trail on June 1 at Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks, just one day before â€œNational Trails Day.â€
â€œWatching Diane throughout this expedition has been amazing,â€ said Chuck Millsaps, lead trail guide and expedition coordinator from the Great Outdoor Provision Co. â€œShe has a fierce competitiveness combined with a compassion for others that is unique, unlike anyone I’ve met before. To be part of that for the last three weeks has been an honor and a privilege.â€
The one-woman race began at 4:26am on May 10th, 2012 at Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Van Deren traversed the entire length of the state through the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Piedmont foothills, the swamps and pocosins in North Carolina’s coastal plain, and the beach of the Outer Banks. She summited both Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak on the East Coast, and the highest natural sand dune in the eastern United States.
Averaging approximately 40 miles per day, Van Deren finished the trail despite days of challenging weather, an encounter with tropical storm â€œBerylâ€ and blistering feet that almost put an end to the expedition. Five days of continuous rain early on in the Blue Ridge Mountains created soggy conditions that led to severe blisters on Diane’s feet. The crew and medical personnel charged with keeping her feet clean and dry ensured that Diane stayed on course and on track to beat the record.
On Day 21, tropical storm â€œBerylâ€ made things â€œvery interestingâ€ according to Diane. â€œI have always been curious about what a tropical storm would feel like. We don’t have these in Colorado,â€ said the 52 year-old. â€œWhen Beryl was throwing down 40 mph winds and pelting rain, Diane just kept battling on,â€ said Lisa Burnes, athlete manager at The North Face. â€œI knew then and there that Diane would for sure reach the finish and beat the record.â€
For more information about the expedition, visit: http://greatoutdoorprovision.com/mst-endurance-run/ and http://www.neverstopexploring.com
About Diane Van Deren
Famed ultrarunner, wife and mother of three, Van Deren spent ten years racked by epilepsy before radical brain surgery gifted her with a seizure-free life and a super-human endurance that has driven her to win grueling events like the 2009 Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 430 mile foot race across a frozen wilderness. In 2010 she turned to mountaineering and climbed South America’s tallest peak, Aconcagua. Van Deren was twice named one of National Geographic’s â€œAdventurers of the Year.
About The North FaceÂ®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.
About Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Great Outdoor Provision Co. was founded in 1972 and is a specialty outdoor retailer based in North Carolina. With seven stores filled with gear and clothing for life outside, Great Outdoor Provision Co. is committed to personalized retail encouraging consumers to try on, get fitted, compare and contrast, touch and feel product, and interact with staff who know and go outdoors.
Jessica B. Lange Erin Brosterhous for The North Face
The North Face Inside Out PR