Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Interview: Dr. David Horton

Name: Dr. David Horton
Age: 58
Residence: Lynchburg, VA
Birthplace: Marshall, AR
Years Running: A LOT

Ultra Experience: 3rd fastest ever on Appalachian Trail, 2175 miles in 52 Days 9 Hours - 3rd fastest ever on Trans-America Run 2906 miles - Fastest ever on Pacific Crest Trail 2650 miles in 66 Days 7 Hours - 3rd fastest ever on the Long Trail 272 miles in 4 Days 22 Hours - 1 of 7 finishers ever at the Barkley 100 Miler - 2 time winner of Hardrock 100, the first two.

Race Director of the Holiday Lake 50K, Promise Land 50K and the Hellgate 100K.
Former RD of the Mountain Masochist (25 Years) and 5 years of Trans-Virginia Runs.

This is Dr. David Horton. He is a professor of Kinesiology: Exercise Science at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. He has been a staple of the ultra-running world for over 30 years and this summer, his adventures continue. On June 7, 2008; Horton will begin his journey of challenging the Continental Divide Trail Speed Record. The CDT is a long distance trail spanning over 3,100 Miles from Canada to Mexico. I interviewed Dr. Horton about his upcoming adventure and here is how it went.

SJ: Doc, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions with me. What is the current CDT record?
DH: 75 Days and Change.

SJ: What is your goal time?
DH: Sub 70 Days

SJ: What made you decide to run the CDT and when did you decide?
DH: Well, I've all ready run the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and as some folks know, the Triple Crown is comprised of the AT, PCT and CDT. So last year I was out on the PCT and I thought, "man..I need to do it." So, I spoke to my wife about it and she made a deal with me. She said that if I gave up directing the Mountain Masochist, then she'd be ok with me running the CDT. So on September 12, 2007; it became official and I decided that this is what I was gonna do. Ya know, the AT was pretty and the PCT was spectacular. I heard that the CDT is unreal so.. I've just got to do it.

SJ: Which Direction will you travel and why?
DH: South to North. I'll be starting at Crazy Cook Monument and heading north. 700 Miles through the New Mexico Desert, 6 or 700 miles through Colorado, 6 or 700 through Wyoming, 3-400 through Montana and then Glacier National Park.

SJ: Why did you choose to start on National Trails Day?
DH: Well I originally planned to start on June 5th which is the same day I started my PCT adventure. I got a call from the director of the Continental Divide Trail Association and he thought it would be pretty neat if I started on National Trails Day. So.. he asked me if I wouldn't mind so I said why the heck not. So June 7th it is.

SJ: Are you doing it as a fundraiser or benefit of any kind?
DH: Well, I don't feel like its for any specific fundraiser. I am doing it to see it. It's what I do and the lord will have me do it. I'm doing it for my friends who get excitement in seeing me do it and I do it for everyone at home is isn't doing it because they also want to see me do it.I also want to set an example.

SJ: In the movie "The Runner" your wife mentions how she hopes your PCT adventure would be your last. How does she feel about your CDT adventure?
DH: Well again, we made the deal that I would give up the Masochist and that was a pretty big deal for her since the race really took a lot out of me and away from us. She ALSO hopes this will be it but, she said any future adventure has to be under 30 days in length. There is still plenty of things I want to do and plenty of things I can do in under 30 days so, this won't be the last adventure. So, she supports and loves me and we've made a deal. And I should also note that JB is coming out to make a film about this attempt as well.

SJ: Will she be joining you at all along the CDT run?
DH: Well she might come out and visit me in Colorado, or she may not. She might come out for the finish or.. she might not. There are no definitive plans so far but she certainly supports me.

SJ: Who will be your crew?
DH: Jonathan Basham who is the Colorado Trail record holder is coming out to crew me from start to finish.

SJ: Will you be "fast packing" or relying heavily on your crew?
DH: Well a little of both. The CDT has some VERY long sections, 200 miles in some places, where the trail never crosses a road. So I'll need to be fast packing in those areas. But there will be times when my crew will need to hike in and camp to meet me at specific locations. They'll be at road crossings. It's not going to be easy.

SJ: Will you have any pacers?
DH: Clark Zealand is planning to come out to run with me through a few sections. He plans to run with me for 7 to 8 days through Colorado. He'll also have daily updates on his website www.eco-xsports.com. I have a few friends from out west who are planning on joining me but for the most part I'll be spending about 70-80% of the journey alone. However, I do encourage interested folks to come on out and join me.

SJ: What kind of weather will you experience?
DH: Everything. It'll be hot but dry in New Mexico, its a desert. There will be thunderstorms, rain, sleet, snow and hail in Colorado. It'll be hot in the Red Desert of Wyoming, not many people know there is a high desert in Wyoming. And then in Glacier National Park there will be some good storms, sleet, snow, rain. I'm just really hoping for no humidity because I really do NOT like the humidity.

SJ: What is your favorite kind of trail magic?
DH: Ice Cream. Mmmmm... Ice Cream for sure. Man oh man I love ice cream. And Chocolate Cookies but I really love ice cream. And also Ensure Plus. 350 calories per 8 oz bottle. Two of those, 16 oz and over 700 calories.. man thats a lot of decent energy right there so, I'll be relying on those.

SJ: Who is sponsoring your adventure?
DH: Ensure Plus, Mountain Hardware, Clif, Montrail, Kahtoola, Nathan, Eco-X, Black Diamond and Explorer Satellite Communications.

SJ: Thank you so much Doc an we wish you the very best of luck on your adventure as we follow from home.
DH: You bet and thank you!