Monday, August 8, 2011

100 Mile Wilderness Trail Run

I have a habit of setting unrealistic goals. I attempt to do things that I have no business in accomplishing. The weird thing is… I have a good record in accomplishing my “impossible” goals. I don’t know how, but it just works. It doesn’t seem like running the length Maine (500 miles) and running from Maine to Florida (1351 miles) should have worked out.

Several months ago, a college buddy sent me an email saying we should run the Appalachian Trail 100 Mile Wilderness. He attached a link to a news story about three men who set the speed record for the 100 MW, and said “We could crush the 39 hours it took these guys to run it”.

We started to plan our trip. We set a weekend in June to start the run. In the new coverage of the 2010 100MW Run, the runners challenged people to beat their record. We emailed Bill Green, of Bill Green’s Maine, to tell him that we were going to take a stab at the record. We got a response saying that he wasn’t going to cover our story, and that it would be tough to cover in case we didn’t beat the record. A couple weeks later we got another message from Bill Green, telling us that another group of people were going to go for the record. It made sense to get in with a bigger group, so we emailed the organizers and got invited to join.

The next couple of months flew by. I can say that I didn’t do any special training for the 100 MW. I actually trained less than normal. I ran Great Cranberry Island Ultra two weeks before the 100 MW weekend, and did 14 miles in the time between. In the weeks leading up to the run, I ordered a special Nathan Endurance hydration vest, picked up a pair of Brooks Cascadia 5s, and bought some Nuun electrolyte tablets (all ended up being LIFE-SAVERS).

The day before the race I cooked a big meal of spaghetti, garlic bread, and mixed veggies, watched Running the Sahara on Netflix, and packed my gear. My Dad, my friend Jason, and I drove to the trailhead for the 5am start. At 5:02am we were off.

The first 40 miles of the race showed us all that the 100 MW wasn’t a cakewalk. The hills, rocks, slippery log bridges, mud, and (worst of all) roots made the trail very difficult to run. The group I ran with adopted a “run when you can” attitude taking everything the trail gave us. At crew station two, I closed the gap on my speedy friend, Jason. Jason had gone out with the big dogs and held his own, but messed his left knee up and couldn’t go on. I left aid station two with my new trail friends, Nate and Justin. We ran along together for the majority of the first 40 miles, talking about life and running. I tried to convince the guys to try some of the blueberries I was grabbing every time we ran a patch, but they seemed skeptical.

We rolled into aid station three to find out that Jason got hauled off to the hospital, and that my Dad had also dropped out. It was strange to hear that people were already done. We hit a rough patch on the fifth section of the trail. Miles 55-65 were loaded with massive mountain climbs. We hit 100k at midnight and kept rolling. At around mile 65, Nate started to get farther and farther away from me. We were walking different paces, and I couldn’t keep up. Nate ended dropping me for the remainder of section 5.

I had no worries about being in the middle of the woods at night… until I was alone. The next couple of hours were the scariest times of the entire journey. I was exhausted and my body was breaking down. My feet and my right hip flexor were constantly throbbing, and every step had to be calculated. My mind started to play tricks on me in the woods. I started to think I was seeing little animals and objects that weren’t really there. The first thing that startled me was a shadow that ran across the trail that looked like a fox. I realized that my headlamp was throwing strange shadows off from the trees, rocks, and roots, but I couldn’t help but get frightened every time I hallucinated. I was sent over the edge when a shadow that jumped across my path looked exactly like a mountain lion. I screamed, and instantly began to run. I was running over rocks, roots, and mud. I jumped over small water crossings. I was running in a primal “fight or flight” mode (I chose flight). I knew that I was running away from imaginary animals, but I couldn’t turn off the fear. I started to embrace the feeling to pull myself to the next crew station. My pain in my feet and hip disappeared every time I saw animals in the trail, imagined people chasing me, or saw a strange patterns in the lichen on trees (I seriously thought I was seeing skulls).

I finally pulled up to the crew station at mile 70. I heard my Uncle Tim yelling from across a large stream. He told me I had to walk across the stream to get to the next part of the trail. I stumbled through a couple hundred feet of shin-deep water to get to the other side. I was relieved to be with people again. I fueled up at the station, changed my shoes and socks, and took off with my Uncle Tim.

The first couple miles with Tim were pretty slow. I was sore and feeling the 70 miles I had put in earlier. I was sleepy and feeling very tired. Tim called my parents and left a message to tell them how I was doing. When Tim said, “We’re doing great. Hogan is looking good. Right now, we’re averaging 36 minute miles…” I snapped out of my funk. “36 minute miles? That’s awful!” I thought. I took off running the instant I heard about my slow pace. Tim and I kept a good pace going through leg 5. We ran past Nate, and he told us that his feet were toast. When we got to the fifth crew station we heard some crazy news. Everyone had dropped out except the two leaders and ME. Nate was hours from getting to the station and he had to haul himself out before he could call it a day.

The last 30 miles of the trail was absolutely brutal. I had high spirits until the last 7 miles when I was started to break down again. We toughed it out, and made it to the point where I could hear cars driving down Route 15 in Monson. I knew that there were a couple miles left, and I had my last surge. I ran out in front and had a strong finish. I ran past my mom and up to Route 15 and kissed the pavement. I was done.

After some hugs, a couple of pictures by 100 MW signs, and celebratory beers we left behind the AT. I don’t plan on doing the entire 100 MW ever again. The challenge was one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted. There is no way I would have been able to finish without my crew (Mom, Uncle Tim, and Dad), running partners (Justin and Nate), and strong pacing through the last 30 miles (Uncle Tim).

In the end, 4 out of 12 people finished the run. The two leaders smoked me, and got the AT 100 MW speed record. I ended up in third, with a time of 37 hours, 51 minutes, 42 seconds. I couldn’t be happier about my experience. I even broke the 39 hour 30 minute time set by the runners in 2010.

Now, it’s only a matter of time before that beautiful belt buckle arrives in the mail.

-Hogan Marquis


Wicked Long Time, No See.

Wow. It's been a while and a lot of new things have happened. I'm going to just jot down a quick list, and I'll elaborate on some of the bullets later.
  • Started "One-A-Day Challenge 2011" with Marquis Family and friends. Currently 3 people in the family have run at least one mile a day for the entire year (Roger, Regina, and Robert Marquis). Tim Marquis and I both messed up a day and are going for the "364/365 Challenge". Congrats to the people who are still left.
  • Roger Marquis got a PR at Boston Marathon.
  • I finished my first marathon, and qualified for the Boston Marathon. I ran a 3:09:15 at Sugarloaf Marathon.
  • I ran Pineland Farms 50k and won my age group. I ran Great Cranberry Island with Roger, Tim, and Steve Marquis and we all had great times.
  • I completed the 100 Mile Wilderness Trail Challenge in 37 hours, 51 minutes, 42 seconds.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Boston Marathon

Roger Marquis and brother Tim Marquis are running the Boston Marathon today. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

UPDATE: and MDI Marathon

Roger speaking at the MDI Marathon Pasta Party.
Hi Everyone,

This Fall my Dad and I have continued to represent WLR. There is just something special about putting on the WLR t-shirts and running. My Dad has done a few marathons since our big trip. In October We had the honor of being asked to be the guest speakers at the Mount Desert Island Marathon. Volunteering at the finish line and seeing all of the finishers was inspiring. I even got the chance to give Dad his silver cape when he finished.

WLR now has a REAL domain name. Right now I'm working on getting the site up and running. We have a basic site up right now with links to the Facebook, Twitter, and blog pages.

Hogan speaking at the MDI Marathon Pasta Party.
I can say that it is my hope to continue doing work as wicked long runner/ fundraiser. Dad and I have thought about creating a foundation to keep this cause going. Doing the WLR the past couple years has renewed my faith in people. Meeting people and getting the chance to make a difference has been a privilege. If it takes running a ridiculous amount of miles to recharge my life every Summer, than we will keep this thing going. My Dad likes to say that there is "magic in the misery". I couldn't agree more. Look out for the "magical misery tour" next year.

Thanks for the support,

MDI Marathon Finish (Roger, Gina, Alaina, and Hogan).


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Open Letter

Dear WLR for ACS followers,

The finish of our trip was just like the start: small with no fanfare. We were greeted by my Mom and girlfriend at the border of Florida. It was incredible to see them after being away for a month. A month's worth of pressure and frustration was relieved. The finish was surreal. Rather than being overjoyed, I felt strange. "We don't have to keep going?" and "What am I going to do now?" were my prevailing thoughts.

It seems like it was almost impossible. We were just two regular guys going for it. What were the chances that we would actually finish? How did we make it out without getting hit by a car? How did we make it out healthy? It's hard to believe what we accomplished.
For the past couple weeks, my Dad and I have been adjusting to life at home. I'm back to school, student teaching at Bangor High School in Bangor, ME. My Dad is back to work at General Electric in Bangor, ME. Dad has been running. I have been running, but not half as much as him. That's nothing new.We both entered the "real world" so quickly that we never really debriefed from our trip. Every day the fact that we finished the WLR sinks in a little more.

I've tried to sit down and reflect on my experiences. The only problem is that there is so much to say. The task of boiling down our trip to one blog post is too much. I don't feel like I can do it justice. It feels like we could fill a book with all of our experiences.

The emotions we went through on the WLR were intense. A good summary of the trip can be seen in a picture of a dumptruck we took in New Jersey. I took the picture while we were going through a construction zone because the road was too dangerous.  The giant tailgate of the truck had "<--Good Times" and "Bad Times-->" painted on it. Nothing could have been more fitting. We had the best of times and the worst of times. The bottom line is that no matter how hopeless we felt we never stopped. In our minds, we weren't allowed to stop. We never wanted to look back on the WLR with any regrets.

The support we got from complete strangers throughout the country has restored my faith in people. We were on the receiving end of countless acts of altruism. Honestly, the support we got was overwhelming at times. We never knew that people would care about what we were doing so much, and we certainly didn't realize that their support was what would enable us to complete our journey. We would have quit without the support on the road, at home, and online. All of the calls, conversations, honks, waves, and posts kept us moving.

It wouldn't feel right to get too specific in our thank yous. We could never list every person that helped us out. We thank our family, friends, teammates, and all the kind strangers who helped us. I would like to especially thank my girlfriend, Alaina Harris, for keeping me going and being there at both ends. My Dad and I would also like to thank my Mom, Regina Marquis. Mom was given a lot of responsibility. She was responsible for keeping all of our followers informed by being our blogger/webmaster. She also kept my Dad from going crazy on the road. Again, thank you to everyone who helped us along the way.You enabled us to live out a dream. We look forward to sharing more our experiences with you all in the future. Just give us a little more time to let it all sink in.


Hogan Marquis
WLR for ACS 2010

More quick notes below from Roger

Hogan you were a force both physically and mentally. Maine to Florida 1371 miles biked and 1371 miles run in 27 days. I could not have done this run without your superhuman effort.

This was a very challenging experience with many highs and lows but it was nothing in comparison to those trying to beat cancer. Thanks to our family, friends and all the new friends we met along the way. You guys inspired us to exceed our own expectations. I was honored to be able to take on this challenge in support of the American Cancer Society and wish you all good health!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 27: August 26, 2010 - completed 36 miles today - DONE!!!!!

Thanks Karen at Comfort Suites! We had a great last night's rest. Starting in Brunswick, GA... 35 miles to FL.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 26: August 25, 2010. Completed 57.7 miles today - 30 of which Hogan ran.. yes he did more than Roger!! In Brunswick, GA for the night (not Maine). 35 miles tomorrow should finish the journey!!

James and Melissa Flowers... our prayers are with Melissa, newly diagnosed with lung cancer after fighting off breast cancer. Keep fighting!

Ed Dauphin and Leona Dauphin... BOTH Cancer SURVIVORS!!

George and Sheneeka... new friends in Darien, GA.