The marathon run at the National Park of American Samoa was the hardest of the 52 I’ve run so far. For me to cover 26.2 miles (actually 27.3 miles) it took nine hours and 35 minutes. For reference, my average is six hours.

What slowed me down? All sorts of fun things! I talk about them a lot in the video so you’ll get to hear about what I’m seeing, experiencing and how I’m feeling.

The course was a 13.1 mile loop that I did twice. Not usual. There were several parks where I had to repeat loops. What made this hard was that there was over 4,100 feet of climbing per 13 mile loop. For reference, my average climbing for a full 26.2 miles is slightly over 3,000 feet. In total there was 8,300 feet of ascent for the marathon. To make this even more impressive (at least to me) the highest point of the entire run was the summit of Mount ‘Alava at 1,610 feet. We are not talking 14,000 foot Colorado peaks here. The entire run was either up or down not much in-between.

I got caught in an almost three hour rainstorm; a torrent, a downpour, a tropical deluge. For reference, this was the first time in to that point 47 prior marathons that I got caught in the rain.

Because there had been a lot of rain over the past few days the ground was very slippery. Many rocks and roots were covered in moss. The leaves blown from the trees added to the banana peel-like surface.

It was also over 70 degrees when I started at 7am and only got hotter as the day went on. The rainstorm was cooling but gave way to a beating sun and high humidity once it passed.

And, for a significant part of the run I was on the Mount ‘Alava Adventure Trail. This is a “hiking” trail which has 56 ladders and 783 steps according to the official National Park brochure. No, I did not count but I don’t dispute it for a minute. Add to the ladders and ropes, rain and an already wet and slippery terrain and it made for a long day.

I remember it being very difficult. I remember at points I wanted it to be done. But I don’t every remember wanting to outright quit. It was just a blast to be climbing ladders up and down mountains in the rain on a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. Plus, if I quit where was I going to go? I was on a ladder on a mountain on of a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I know the movie is longer than most but I think you’ll enjoy seeing the sights of the National Park of American Samoa and one fortunate man who got to see it in all its beauty. #runningtheparks

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