RWR Day 24 – Finished, More to Tell

Ray and Russell resting after some "busy" days.
Ray and Russell resting after some "busy" days.

Sorry for the delay in posting the Day 24. About 30 minutes from the finish, our daughter called with the news that our new grandson, Russell Gorman Berry, had just been born. After a quick lunch in Cherokee, we scurried to Boone to repack and then to Raleigh to seen this little fellow. We were with Russell, Leah, and Denny by 10 PM. All are doing great! Blogging went on hold for a while while we enjoyed family and I got some rest after a long (but great) 24 days.

This blog will be brief. We are still in Raleigh. There's so much more yet to tell.

An informal, come and go Celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 5 PM to 7 PM. See the Event Details for more information.

Day 24 Run

Near the Finish of Relay with Ray.
Near the Finish of Relay with Ray.

Running with me were: 1) my sister, Jeanne Newton, who drove from Franklin TN, 2) our friend Neal Stubblefield who for a second time drove up from Atlanta, 3) David Still, Director of Business Development for RaysWeather.Com, who worked tirelessly to set up the run and assisted me for 10-11 days of the run (water, fuel, etc.), and 4) our special guest, Don Lister, who is the only other person to have run the Blue Ridge Parkway in consecutive days. For details on Don's story see the blog post, Ray is No Don. I interviewed Don on camera after we finished and will share that in a blog soon.
Jeanne and Neal ran the entire route with me Thursday. David and Don picked up with us in the last 2 miles.

File_000
We began the run at Milepost 460 with only 9 miles to go to the finish. The route had only one uphill section about 2 miles into the run. Otherwise, it was a fairly steep descent of 2400 feet over the 9 miles. We passed through the last three tunnels. I took it really easy until the last quarter mile, but enjoyed a more spirited end to the run.

Here are the details of the run... https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1208306070

Photos and Video

The App Ortho Photo of the Day

Ray and Don Lister at the Southern Entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 469.
Ray and Don Lister at the Southern Entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 469.

We placed today's photos on http://www.BRPWeather.com/. From the Google Map on BRPWeather.Com, zoom into the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway to see today's photos. By the way, you can upload your photos to BRPWeather.com also; just click on the Photo link and follow the process--it's quick and easy!

Here are a few videos we made. I'll share more on blogs in the next several days. We have many more stories to tell. Here we have: 1)  the start video (by the way, Jeanne ran the entire route instead of just a couple miles as stated in the start video), two ending videos, and a mock Hoka Commercial (What do you think? Should I get the promo job from Hoka?).

 

Location Information

 The southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway is along the Oconaluftee River at US Hwy 441 just a couple miles north of Cherokee, NC. It is a mile or less south of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Cherokee has historically struggled economically compared to the Tennessee entrance area for the Great Smoky Mountains. However, the day we finished, Cherokee was crowded and bustling. The town has scores of smaller, "Mom and Pop" businesses and of course the large casino.
 

Parkway Attractions and History

Of course the original purpose of the Blue Ridge Parkway was to be a road connecting two new ("new" in the 1930s), Eastern U. S. National Parks.
The Parkway route was a compromise reached between the Cherokee Tribe and the National Park Service. Instead of going through the Soco River valley, the route took a northerly "high route". Hwy 19 was built as a part of the compromise agreement. The Cherokees concerns were that: 1) the limited-access Blue Ridge Parkway would limit commercial potential and 2) the wide right-of-way required would take too much fertile farmland in the valley.

Next...

And on Days 25, 26, 27, etc., we rested. Of course, we were exhilarated by the birth of our new Grandson. But I have so much more to share about the experience. To be honest, every single day was such a rush of getting ready, running, getting to the next stop, recovering, and blogging. I am more mentally tire than physically tired (not to minimize the physical exhaustion). My left leg is beaten up, it will take several days of physical recovery. But I will and will be out running on the Moses Cone Trails in the next 2-3 days.

 

8 Comments on “RWR Day 24 – Finished, More to Tell

  1. We are so very proud of you for your determination and completion of this 469 mile run. As your parents, we were apprehensive for you and what problems you would encounter — but you DID IT! Congratulations! And it was an added little thrill so see Jeanne there at the end of the run. Now–best of all–congratulations on the birth of your new grandson and our new great-grandson. It was neat that little Russell Gorman Berry beat you on the end of the race by about 20 minutes!!

    1. Ray, congratulations on an amazing project! I wish I’d had time to meet you at the end of one of your days. You’ve certainly made your family proud! And maybe a bit jealous of your determination and accomplishment. Also glad to know you & Rhonda now have a grandson!

  2. God bless you for your determination and stamina on this “trek”. It took a lot of courage to do what you did. As a friend of your Mom and Dad, I have been keeping up with you each day and cheering you along. Also, congratulations on your new grandson.

  3. Congratulations on your run. It has been fun to watch you each day. Living in the prairie of Texas, I’ve enjoyed seeing the beaut of the Blue Ridge Parkway and wishing to be see it myself. It’s been fun………………

  4. Ray I am so jealous of you being able to do that but am very proud that tou did it. That was a great accomplishment.

  5. Ray, what an exhausting but exhilarating accomplishment for you, Rhonda, and all those who made this journey with you, both in body and in spirit, as you personally put a face on all 469 miles of this amazing ribbon of scenic beauty! I know the running was extremely tough but writing this blog and all the activities that kept every day absolutely brimming were just as tiring. Many thanks for the opportunities so many of us had to run a few miles side by side with you – I’m grateful for the privilege of running Day 16 across the spectacular Linville Viaduct and this celebratory Day 24 with Jeanne, David and Don as you crossed the finish – and for chronicling the many sights both on and off the Parkway that make this roadway one of America’s greatest. You allowed us all to make this incredible journey with you. I’m sure the BRP Foundation is deeply appreciative for the immense attention you brought to the Parkway in this centennial year of the National Park Service. Finally, one day little grandson Russell will see this picture above of you both napping and will ask about it – what a wonderful story you’ll be able to share with him about the day he was born! Congratulations!

    1. Marc, Thanks for all your encouragement and help. Next? I don’t know. I usually conjure up the next thing while recovering from the last thing. Maybe a fall marathon or ultra.
      Ray

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