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Shorts: Blue Ridge Briefs

112 Attached Runners Complete Marathon

As if running 26.2 miles isn’t tough enough, try doing it attached to 111 other people. In late May,  112 runners, tied together with surgical tubing, completed the Calgary Marathon in Canada. The feat was completed as part of a Guinness World Record attempt and to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease. Runners varied in age from 15 to 80 and, as expected, had different experience and endurance levels. According to a story from CBC News, one runner had to be treated for heat stroke and others were slowed by muscle cramps. The only time the runners were allowed to detach from each other was during three planned bathroom breaks.

Women of the Water Unite

Paddler Laura Farrell realized that much of her time on the river was spent surrounded by male paddlers. She knew there were a number of local female kayakers regularly paddling the river, but rarely as a collective group, and hatched the idea of having a day where the women would take over the waters. For the past three years, the Green River Takeover has brought together women for a day on a beloved whitewater river near Saluda, N.C. It’s not meant to be a day of excluding men, but rather a day of empowering women. At last year’s event, more than 75 women showed up. The 2017 Green River Takeover takes place on August 26. The day finishes with a raffle, with prizes that include a new kayak and paddle, all donated by local businesses. Proceeds raised by the raffle will be donated to the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund, which supports organizations and grants that empower women and help build confidence.

Group Runs a 22K in Eight Cities for Veterans

An average of 22 military veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S., a result of the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. To raise awareness of this epidemic, a group of veterans, active soldiers, and accompanying supporters ran a 22K route wearing 22-pound vests in eight cities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. The Shepherd’s Men, a group that formed to support the therapy and treatment efforts of military men and women at the non-profit Shepherd Center hospital in Atlanta, led the runs to raise funds for the hospital’s SHARE Military Initiative.

The 17 members of the Shepherd’s Men started at the Flight 93 Memorial site in Shanksville, Pa., on May 22, and then, after completing 22K runs in cities in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, as well as Washington, D.C., the effort was completed on Memorial Day in Atlanta.

D.C Drops to Second Fittest City in America

For the 10th straight year, the American College of Sports Medicine released the American Fitness Index, which ranks the health of 50 major metro areas across the country. Minneapolis-St. Paul was named the fittest urban center in the U.S., taking the title from Washington, D.C., which held the top spot the previous three years. The rankings are mainly based on the health of residents in each city, including rates of heart disease, diabetes, and smoking. Cities are also judged based on walkability, access to parks and recreation centers, and per capita park expenditures in their communities. Additional ranked cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast: Raleigh, N.C. (14), Atlanta, Ga. (17), Baltimore, Md. (20), Virginia Beach, Va. (27), Richmond, Va. (30), Charlotte, N.C. (47), and Louisville, Ky. (50).

A.T. Hikers Protest Pipeline

A large group of Appalachian Trail hikers held a protest outside of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office on June 2—the eve of National Trails Day. The hikers, wearing full backpacking gear, were protesting McAuliffe’s support of two natural gas pipeline projects being proposed by Dominion Energy. If built, the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines would place more than 900 miles of pipeline infrastructure throughout the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia for natural gas extraction through fracking. Hikers are particularly concerned about reports that the pipelines, which would cross the A.T., would impact viewshed and water sources in the mountains.

“I’ve been a proud hiker of the Appalachian Trail since I was a kid,” said Mike Tidwell of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club in a release by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “But with the Governor’s support, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline for fracked gas would decapitate mountains within view of the trail and plow through geologically fragile areas.”

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