Feeling up for a 50 kilometer hike? How about 100?
For the 45th year, the Sierra Club’s One Day Hike (ODH) is an opportunity to challenge yourself to extreme limits of endurance, all the while enjoying the scenery along the C&O Canal Towpath and Harper’s Ferry.
On Saturday, April 21st, you have your chance. Choose between the 50K (31.1 miles) or the 100K (62.2 miles), and simply finish the hike within one day, at your own pace. Earn your finisher badge. And trust me, you will have earned it.
Do take time for practice hikes before. It’s not wise to wing it with such great distances. Blisters are the biggest factor. See below for tips.
The event is always well-organized, with volunteers available to assist you or feed you. I’ve now completed the 50K six times (2012-2017).
Each support station (four for the 50K; seven for the 100K) has snacks, sandwiches, soup, coffee, Gatorade, fruit and more. When you finally finish, there is even chili (turkey and veggie), sodas and pizza. You won’t go hungry.
After eating your fill, you can also decide to stay in Harper’s Ferry (or Bolivar) to relax and take the Sunday 11am train back to DC.
Registration opens on Thursday, February 1st at 5:00pm. Check the One Day Hike Facebook page for more details.
Register here (opens Feb. 1st).*
Cost is $55. The 50K starts at 10am (at White’s Ferry); 100k starts at 3am (at Georgetown).
*Note: Usually registration re-opens in mid-April after any cancellations, so if you miss the Feb. 1st date for any reason or can’t make up your mind, you still have a shot.
Tips for the 50K
- Training: Do at least 3-4 training hikes between 10-16 miles. More if you can but make sure one hike is 16 miles or longer (20 miles is good, but it does make for a long day!). Note: If you’re doing the 100K, without question do more and longer hikes, at least one 30-40 mile training hike would be the best strategy.
- Attire: Wear the shoes, socks and clothing you’ll use for the ODH on the training hikes. Helps identify blister hot spots and areas of chafing. Many people wear cross-trainers or running shoes. Hiking boots are also fine, but the terrain is flat and you may want to jog a bit.
- Prevent chafing: Use an anti-chafe balm (like Body Glide) in places that rub together.
- Foot care: Use moleskin on your feet before you start on your blister hot spots. Using the Body Glide on your feet also helps.
- Medical: Take a couple Advil at the first support station or after the first 1-2 hours. If you start to get blisters, have them treated at the next support station. Don’t wait, remember blisters are the primary reason people don’t finish the hike.
- On the hike: Try alternating between running and walking for short distances. For example, jog 1 minute and walk 3 minutes for a few miles. It helps to use different muscles. Drink a lot of fluids and eat a lot of salty snacks.