Vblog: Everglades National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Everglades National Park Marathon Run

Welcome to #gatorhurdles! There were many alligators in my path at Everglades National Park. The park is vast but does not have many trails for hiking so I ran the 16 mile tram road in Shark Valley. I added a couple of very short trails they have off of the road plus the climb up the observation tower.

Alligators were regularly on the tram road. Most of the time they either just laid there or moved away when I came running by. I was tempted to jump over them but thought that might not be a good idea.


The Everglades is a fun and fascinating place. It is so different than what I often think as the"typical" National Park - mountains, forests and rivers. This is why learning about and visiting our National Parks is so important. The diversity alone is intriguing. Hope you can visit as many as you can.


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Vblog: Biscayne National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Biscayne National Park Marathon Run

I managed to find a trail at Biscayne National Park. I spent my entire time on the Spite Highway, a seven mile trail that bisects Elliott Key. Yes I ran it back and forth around 3.5 times. There isn't much land associated with Biscayne National Park. Most of it is protected marine areas.

I had to hire a boat to take me the 45 minutes from Homestead, FL to the key. I camped for a night right near the dock.

If you want to learn why it is called the Spite Highway you can listen to the longest narration about a park I did while running during the entire project. I guess I thought it was interesting and I had no one else to talk to.

While I don't mention it during the run there were tons of spiders and spiderwebs crossing the trail. The first pass in either direction I ran with a stick in my hand to break down the webs before they ended up in my mouth, stuck to my shirt or in my eyes.

While somewhat repetitive it was a fun run through the shade of the foliage which has reclaimed the Spite Highway.


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Vblog: Congaree National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Congaree National Park Marathon Run

Congaree National Park in South Carolina is an example of just how diverse our National Parks can be. Congaree is best know for being the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. And more impressive to me, the park also has one of the largest concentrations of champion trees in the world, with the tallest known examples of 15 species.

It was a fun run though Congaree with many downed trees to navigate. The environment is different than any of the other National Parks I visited. The marsh and soft soil, wetlands, river and very cool cypress trees makes for a magical, movie-like landscape. I got to see almost all the trails at the park. Early spring is a great time to go. No mosquitoes!

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Vblog: Mammoth Cave National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Mammoth Cave National Park Marathon Run

Mammoth Cave is the largest cave system in the world with over 400 miles (yes, miles!) of documented pathways. I could have easily run a marathon in the cave but alas, they didn’t let me. Instead, I had a fabulous day running a spiderweb-like figure eight route on the soft, rolling grounds above the cave.

My friend and rockstar runner Sharon joined me for the first 13.1 miles. We had a sunny 55 degree Kentucky spring day but the forecast was for three inches of snow only two days later. Talk about good timing. While you go to Mammoth Cave for the cave make sure you get the full experience by going for a hike or run on the trails and marveling that under your feet are caves that go on for miles and miles.

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Vblog: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Marathon Run

I had a really great day running the marathon at Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the busiest National Park in the system getting over 20 million visitors each year. I saw very few people, in fact in the video I discuss not having seen anyone for the first two hours. It just goes to show that just a little effort to get away from the trailheads and campgrounds will reward you with solitude, silence and nature.

I ran a big 26.2 mile loop starting and ending at the Smokemount Campground. Six miles of the run was on the Appalachian Trail. There was over 6,500 feet of climbing which puts Great Smoky in the top ten for overall elevation. For a majority of the run I was in earshot of running water. It was very peaceful and reassuring. The Great Smokies didn’t disappoint with views of the mountains that look like they were on fire.

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Vblog: Hot Springs National Park

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Vblog: Hot Springs National Park

Until March 2018 when Congress created Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Hot Springs National Park was the smallest National Park. I was worried that I would have trouble running a reasonable route there. I was very happy to find out that I could do a 13.1 mile loop twice in some very pretty countryside. My new friend Catherine joined me for the first loop. While most people know Hot Springs for the bathhouses the parks grounds with forest, rock formations and lakes are worth taking the time to explore. 

I learned that the water bubbling to the surface entered the ground 4,000 years ago. When you go to a spring to soak (which you should) it is amazing to consider the water you are in is 4,000 years old. 

Check out Hot Springs National Park. A little different spin on a national park but worth the trip. 

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Vblog: Big Bend National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Big Bend National Park Marathon Run

Mountains in Texas? Oh heavens yes. Big Bend National Park was dry, dusty and spectacular. The mountains were challenging, the foliage intimidating, the sun unrelenting. There were cliffs, canyons and even streams running through the Chihuahuan Desert. Plus, you have the meandering Rio Grande River continuing to cut its path.

Even though I was there in February it was hot and I ended up pretty well dehydrated by the end of the run. The amount of elevation climbed was in the top ten overall at over 6,300 feet. To give you a reference point, when I ran at Rocky Mountain National Park my friend Ron and I climbed 7,400 feet (and that was in the Rockies!). I was not expecting so much elevation at Big Bend. That and the sun wore me out. Hope you enjoy this quick peek at Big Bend National Park. Get out and see it yourself! #runningtheparks

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University of Delaware Magazine Cover Story

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University of Delaware Magazine Cover Story

When my undergraduate alma mater the University of Delaware was interested in doing a story about my running project for the alumni magazine I was very appreciative. Little did I know though they were going to make me their cover story! Thanks to the University of Delaware alumni office for helping me tell my story of change and life experience. Get out and see the world, make a difference and enjoy life! #runningtheparks

p.s. This reinforces the benefits of taking a selfie now and then. You never know where it will end up. The photo is from Petrified Forest National Park (that's petrified wood behind me). 

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Vblog: Guadalupe Mountains National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Guadalupe Mountains National Park Marathon Run

This is a very short video (well, mostly photos) about my frustrating run at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas back on January 13, 2017. Why was it frustrating? Because I kept losing the trail. Not that I kept getting lost or wandering off the trail, the trail just kept disappearing. It seems, I think, there is either not enough foot traffic on some of the remote trails or there isn't enough in the budget for trail maintenance or both but I would be running right a long and then, poof, trail just disappears. So instead of my original loop plan I did a long out and back. Still very enjoyable but a little concerning at times wandering around in the desert. 

At that point I had run at enough parks and had enough experience on trails that I usually know when I waiver and can return to the path. In this case, I searched and searched several times and just wasn't able to find where the trail continued. No matter. I had fun anyway. 

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Vblog: Petrified Forest National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Petrified Forest National Park Marathon Run

Welcome to the video of my run at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. I ran a point to point 26 mile route down the park highway from the north visitor center to the south. This was one of the few all road marathons I did during the trip. The park has some trails but not nearly enough to string together a reasonable route plus the road, at 26 miles, was just calling me to run it. It was a lot of fun until I hit a 20 mile an hour headwind at mile 20 of the run. Until then I was on a sub-4 hour pace. The video doesn't do the scenery justice so it included some of the photos I took while I was there.

And thanks to Ranger Kip for giving me a ride back to my car at the north visitor center where I started.

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Vblog: Saguaro National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Saguaro National Park Marathon Run

New video from my marathon run at Saguaro National Park now up! I was joined by my friends Renee, Erik and James who all ran the entire distance with me on some sandy, dry trails. What a perfect day we had and what a perfect way to spend it running through a desert protected by an army of cacti. 

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Vblog: Joshua Tree National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Joshua Tree National Park Marathon Run

My friends Jen and Dave joined me for the marathon run at Joshua Tree National Park back on December 14, 2016. We had a blast running an out and back on the California Riding and Hiking Trail from Ryan Campground. Dave and I did the entire 26.2 miles and Jen did her first run over 20 miles! She overdid it a bit though and ended up with a fired up I.T. band. No matter though it was a blast through the desert. So happy they could join me. 

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Vblog: Interview with Ultrarunner Dave Wiskowski at Joshua Tree National Park

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Vblog: Interview with Ultrarunner Dave Wiskowski at Joshua Tree National Park

The greatest thing about my National Parks Marathon Project is the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made. Ultrarunner Dave Wiskowski received an email from his Mom about something she thought he should read. Normally he is selective about what he reads from her (sorry Mom) but something made him open this email. It was the NBC News article about my project.

He reached out to me online and said he would be there when I reached California to run at least one marathon with me. He made good on that promise at Joshua Tree National Park.

Dave has transformed his life over the past several years from being sedentary, overweight and without focus to an accomplished ultramarathon runner and an example of positivity to others in the world. He is gracious, generous and tries to be as helpful as he can to everyone he meets.

Like me, Dave is also a plant-based athlete. Our diets are exclusively plant derived and as much whole foods as possible. Dave is just another example of how a plant based diet can support extraordinary physical performance and overall health.

We talked about how we got connected, his transformation, diet and running in National Parks. We were both tired after running 26.2 miles in the California desert but we had a really good discussion.

Since then Dave has become a great friend to me but has also learned an important lesson himself. He should read all of the emails sent by his Mom.

Hope you enjoy.

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Vblog: Canyonlands National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Canyonlands National Park Marathon Run

For some un-remembered reason I did not carry my GoPro with me when I ran at Canyonlands National Park. Either that or the footage got lost between then and now. So, all I got is a short iPhone video of being down in a canyon. Shame I don't have more footage because Canyonlands is on my list of top five favorite National Parks. It is just a beautiful place and a blast to run. I have other videos from other trips to Canyonlands on my channel so please give them a look. 

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Vblog: Death Valley National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Death Valley National Park Marathon Run

Despite being a vast land there aren’t a lot of long trails for hiking only at Death Valley National Park. There are a number of jeep roads that double as hiking trails. For my marathon I did a 13.1 mile out and back on Titus Canyon Road. This took me through the fabulous canyon, through rolling mountains and up to Red Pass. I also passed by the abandoned Leadfield mining town. I was very impressed by Death Valley. It was much more colorful than I ever imagined it would be. There are purples and greens and soft pinks all around. It was also more mountainous than I expected.

My friend Jen joined me on the run. While we only stayed together for the first three miles, she finished only her third run of 13.1 miles or more. She totally rocked it on that tough terrain, in the sun and with a backpack full of water and safety gear. She killed Death Valley! Death Valley is a must see. #runningtheparks

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Vblog: Arches National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Arches National Park Marathon Run

Running at Arches National Park was sunny and sandy. There aren’t many long trails at Arches so I started at Klondike Bluffs running toward Tower Arch and Marching Men. I followed the trail around and then did an out and back on the unnamed jeep road with a little section of Willow Springs Road (dirt) not quite to Balanced Rock. There were only two arches on my trail, Eye of the Whale Arch and Tower Arch but I didn’t get good photos of them. I did take some additional photos and video of the other more famous arches when I was hiking on other days. Arches National Park was so cool. You just look at these rock formations and go, wait, what? Hope you enjoy. Get out and explore. #runningtheparks

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Vblog: Bryce Canyon National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Bryce Canyon National Park Marathon Run

Hoodoo you love!? The video from my marathon run at Bryce Canyon National Park is now up on YouTube. What a fantasmagoric jaunt through a Dr. Seuss-like landscape. It is amazing how little by little every night the frost wedges in between the cracks of the rock and pushes it apart. I highly recommend visiting and running at Bryce Canyon.

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Vblog: Yosemite National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Yosemite National Park Marathon Run

Here's a short video of my run at Yosemite National Park. I didn't shoot too many videos as I wasn't feeling very well that day. I got the run in and despite the scenery just couldn't get my motor running, so to speak. 

The waterfalls were running in October which is often unusual for that time of the year. Seems they had a bunch of rain prior to me arriving. I got lucky and had a nice day to run since there was still a lot of rain in the area. 

While running I hit the Four Mile Trail, a bit of the John Muir Trail and the Valley Trail. I think there was one other trail in there. 

October is a great time to go. Not many people and still warm enough to enjoy your time. Hope you enjoy the video. 

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Vblog: Great Basin National Park Marathon Run

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Vblog: Great Basin National Park Marathon Run

Great Basin National Park is up there on my list of favorites. It is one of the few places in the world where Bristlecone pine trees grow. They can live to be over 4,000 years old. There weren't any on my running route but I hiked to see them a few days earlier.

Great Basin is a contrast in geography. Standing on the mountains within the park and looking out at the vast flat landscape in front of you made me start to imagine a see full of ancient creatures not knowing in a few million years their home would be a dust bed. More about the Great Basin from the NPS web site: 

"The Hydrographic Great Basin is a 200,000 square mile area that drains internally. All precipitation in the region evaporates, sinks underground or flows into lakes (mostly saline). Creeks, streams, or rivers find no outlet to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean. The region is bounded by the Wasatch Mountains to the east, the Sierra Nevada to the west, and the Snake River Plain to the north. The south rim is less distinct. The Great Basin includes most of Nevada, half of Utah, and sections of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, and California. The term "Great Basin" is slightly misleading; the region is actually made up of many small basins. The Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake, and the Humboldt Sink are a few of the "drains" in the Great Basin."

I find it fascinating that none of the water found there ever finds its way out. 

At the park, you can also visit the Lehman Caves which were discovered less than 200 years ago. 

On my run I made it to Baker Lake at 10,620 feet and ran along Pole Canyon. I also had the hiccups almost the entire time. Makes for an entertaining video. Of the 52 marathons in national parks that I've run so far I reached the second highest point (10,620 feet) it had the third most climbing (7,244 feet).

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