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 will hit the trail this spring to attempt the time record for running North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST).
To set the time record and complete the expedition, supported in part by North Carolina specialty outdoor retailer Great Outdoor Provision Co., Van Deren will need to complete the nearly 1,000 miles of rugged trail in less than 24 days, averaging more than 38 miles per day.
Beginning her race for the record on May 10 at Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Van Deren will traverse the untamed Blue Ridge mountains, the Piedmont foothills, the swamps and pocosins in North Carolina’s coastal plain, and the beach of the Outer Banks, summiting both Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak on the East Coast, and the highest natural sand dune in the eastern United States. Along the way, she’ll also pass through many cities and small towns where the public is invited to join her for short runs on her historic record bid. Her goal is to complete the trail on June 2 at Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks to commemorate Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s â€œLand Trust Dayâ€ to bring attention to the State trail.
â€œThe Mountains to Sea Trail is everything that’s good about the outdoors,â€ said Tom Valone, president of Great Outdoor Provision Co. â€œIt provides a great selection of day hikes for families as well as the multi-day wilderness experience that backpackers are seeking. Our company is pleased to be part of this expedition with The North Face.â€
Famed ultrarunner Van Deren, who was named one of National Geographic’s â€œAdventurer of the Yearâ€ in 2010, 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.
â€œThe diversity and complexity of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is what first drew me to this challenge, since the terrain ranges from high peaks to swamps and sand,â€ said Van Deren. â€œI know I’ll run into my fair share of obstacles, but I’m looking forward to exploring a region of the country that is new to me.â€
The MST is part of North Carolina’s renowned state park system, and the trail crosses land managed by a diversity of federal, state and local agencies. Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (www.ncmst.org) is the vibrant citizen support group which raises money and organizes volunteers to build, protect and promote the trail. For more information about the expedition and to track Van Deren’s progress in real time, visit www.mstendurancerun.com and www.neverstopexploring.com.