By Jedd Ferris and Will HarlanUltrarunner smashes A.T. Speed Record by 4 DaysIn late August, Belgian ultrarunner Karel Sabbe completed the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail in 41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes—smashing the previous speed record by over 4 days.Sabbe, a 28-year-old dentist, kissed the wooden sign atop Mount Katahdin at the end of his northbound journey on the A.T. Sabbe began at Georgia’s Springer Mountain on July 18. He averaged around 53 miles per day—over two full marathons per day—for 41 consecutive days. The average thru-hiker takes five to six months to complete the trail and averages around 14 miles per day.Sabbe announced his record on Instagram soon after summiting Katahdin: “In the year 60 B.C., Julius Caesar wrote: ‘Of all Gauls, the Belgians are the bravest.’ Over 2000 years later, there is still some truth in that sentence. We have set a new speed record on the epic Appalachian Trail! The Fastest Known Time is now 41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes, which is over 4 days faster than the previous record, held by an incredibly strong and unsupported @thestring.bean.”The previous record was held by Joe “Stringbean” McConaghey, who completed the entire trail in 45 days without any crew or support. McConaghey’s unsupported speed record still stands. Unlike McConaghey, Sabbe’s record-setting run relied on a support crew.“Nobody had averaged more than 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail,” Sabbe continued. “More than proud, I feel privileged for having lived these incredible adventures. It was a blast from start to finish!”Sabbe becomes the first person to hold speed records for both the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. In 2016, Sabbe completed the Pacific Crest Trail—which runs 2,650 miles from Canada to Mexico through the mountains of California, Oregon, and Washington—in 52 days, 8 hours, and 25 minutes.600 Miles cycled in the annual Carolina Brotherhood Ride this summer.For the seventh straight year, a group of first responders—firefighters, police officers, and emergency personnel—completed the six-day ride to honor fellow workers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The effort raised thousands of dollars for the surviving families of the fallen responders, and along the route cyclists stopped to visit loved ones of those lost.Family of Eight from Kentucky Completes Appalachian TrailGetting a large family out the door to do anything is chore, so imagine organizing a clan of eight for a 2,200-mile hike. That’s just what Ben and Kami Crawford, who reside in northern Kentucky, did this past spring and summer, when they embarked on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail with their six kids, who range in age from 2 to 17. The Crawfords left the trail’s southern terminus at Georgia’s Springer Mountain in March and reached the summit of Katahdin in Maine during the second week of August, along the way sharing responsibilities for cooking, setting up camp, and carrying the youngest family member, 2-year-old boy Rainier. The family documented the journey on YouTube with a quirky reality-TV-style video blog, which drew polarized commentary online about the hike’s merits and intentions.Big Bucks For TrailsIn August, longstanding outdoor retailer REI stroked a big check to help keep trails in tip-top shape, donating $643,000 to nonprofits that regularly maintain and restore the country’s 11 National Scenic Trails. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, and Potomac Appalachian Trail Club all received a portion of $48,100 earmarked for upkeep efforts on the Appalachian Trail.“Sometimes I do it to relax my mind. Other times I do it just to pump myself up, and other times I’ll be writing and I’ll have a roadblock.”—Comedian Michelle Wolf, when asked by Runner’s World why she runs. In the interview Wolf also revealed she often runs to and from work, about six miles a day, when filming her Netflix show, The Break with Michelle Wolf. Also, in May she completed her first ultramarathon, the Salt Flats Endurance Runs 50-miler in Utah.Bear Eats Pizza at Tennessee RestaurantAt Howard’s Steakhouse in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a bear climbed a tree, jumped on a table on the restaurant’s patio, and started munching on pizza. After being scared away by an employee, the bear had to be trapped and relocated.D.C. Artist Honors Fellow Cyclist with Bike SculptureStreet artist Matthew Sampson never met Jeffrey Hammond Long, but when he read that the 36-year-old had died after being hit by a truck while riding his bike on the streets of Washington, D.C., in July, he felt compelled to honor the fellow cyclist. He did so by placing a “Ghost Bike” in the spot where Long was killed. Now seen in cities around the world, the white-painted used bikes have become symbols to memorialize cyclists involved in fatal accidents and raise awareness for cycling safety. Sampson told Citylab.com: “It’s made me angry because I should be safe biking around here, and I’m not.”Giant coral reef discovered off South Carolina coastAround 160 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina, a half mile below the ocean surface, scientists have discovered a dense forest of cold-water corals that runs for at least 85 miles. “It’s incredible that it stayed hidden off the U.S. East Coast for this long,” said expedition chief scientist Erik Cordes.Mountain downgraded to a hillFan y Big, a mountain in Wales, was relegated to hill status last month, thanks to new satellite mapping technology that more accurately measured its drop between adjacent peaks. At 2,351 feet, it is still high enough for mountain status, but its drop of 93 feet between adjacent peaks is five feet short of what is required for mountain status.If Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee were a country, they would be the 8th largest contributor to global warming in the world.—Southern Environmental Law Center August 2018 reportGonzo for the Green: Paddlers Saving Hemlocks Along Beloved RiverA crew of experienced whitewater paddlers have teamed up with MountainTrue and other area nonprofits for a unique mission: save the hemlock tree from the scourge of the hemlock woolly adelgid along the famed Green River. Hemlocks shade some of the most beloved rivers in the Southeast, including the Green—home to the Green Race and some of the toughest whitewater in Appalachia. An invasive adelgid is decimating hemlock trees, so regional whitewater kayakers are navigating the Green River’s class IV waters to reach hemlocks and bury pellets of a hydrophobic pesticide around the roots of hemlock trees, which is currently the only reliable remedy.
BORACAY SEA TRAGEDY. Coastguards retrieve the body of a drowned dragon boat rower in Boracay Island on Sept. 25, 2019. The dragon boat paddlers were holding on to the boat. However, strong waves made the boat roll over, making it unstable and displacing the paddlers, according to the Public Information Unit of the municipality of Malay, Aklan which has jurisdiction over Boracay. PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD PHOTO Seven members of the team were declared “deadon arrival” at the Metropolitan Doctors Clinic in Balabag. They were Mark Vincent Navarette, Johann Tan,John Vincent Natividad, Comar Acob, Richel Montuya, Rose Antonette Supranes andJohann’s wife Maricel. “Sananabigyan natin sila ng guidance or assessment kung safe ang dagat at na-check angkanilang mga kagamitan,” he added. The 20 paddlers and a steerman managed to swimthrough rough torrents and hold on to the boat, but only 14 survived. Acevedo said that if the PCG was informedabout the activity, its personnel could have assessed the safety of venturingout into the sea before the group headed out. MALAY, Aklan – The Philippine Coast Guard(PCG) reminded swimming and paddlers associations to observe safety measureswhen venturing out into the sea after seven members of a dragon boat team diedin an accident in Boracay Island. The survivors were identified as team leaderVon Navarosa, Janice Lumbo, Yhen Aytona, Jaylord Violanda, Edwin Paradai, MarcSabadao, Lanie Ordas, Kenneth Bandalan, Robel Licerio, Jao Javier Buenaventura,Kathleen Sabadao, Mark Baccay, Julia Kurbaniizova (a Russian), and Maggie Xie(a Chinese). The team was training in the waters of Bulabogbeach for the Kaohsiung Taiwan Cup scheduled in November. Boat trips have resumed from Caticlan jettyport to Cagban port in Boracay Island.(Witha report from Akean Forum/PN) Initial investigation showed paddlers have nolife vests when their boat capsized about 200 to 300 meters from the shorelineof Lingganay Resort in Sitio Tulubhan in Barangay Manoc-Manoc. “Napuno ngtubig ang bangka dahil sa laki ng alon.Ang mga paddlers ay kumapit sa bangkangunit sa laki ng alon, napahiwalay ang mga ito sa bangka,” Acevedo said. “Ang pakayng ating imbestigasyon ay hindi maghanap kung sino ang may kasalanan.Kailangang matukoy natin ang katotohanan sa nangyari,”he added. He added Navarosa, one of the survivors, wasbrought to a hospital in Kalibo and was still undergoing treatment. Lieutenant Commander Marlowe Acevedo of thePCG-Caticlan said the unfortunate incident could have been avoided if the teamalerted the PCG that it was conducting training on Sept. 25. Acevedo said the survivors were in goodcondition when they were released a few hours after receiving medical treatmentin hospitals and a medical clinic in Boracay. “Sapagkakaalam natin, every year ginagawa nila ang training. We expect na marunong silang lumangoy o may kaalaman sa paglangoy dahil sanature ng kanilang activity. Wala tayong impormasyong natanggap nanandoon sila bago ang insidente,” Acevedo added.