Running to an ATC Record
By Noah Kulak
Last year, in the midst of 2020, Bryce Poirot ran an astonishing 1052 miles in Wissahickon Valley Park – winning the All Trails Challenge mileage prize, breaking an all-time record for most trails covered, and raising over $700 dollars for Wissahickon conservation, too! We caught up with Bryce as this year’s ATC season approaches to hear about how he made it all happen.
How did you get interested in the Wissahickon and the ATC?
I live right behind Andorra meadows, and had done the challenge a couple years ago with my kids, and we ended a little short of 50. I was a runner throughout high school, and I started running again in 2019 when I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and they recommend exercise to lower my blood pressure. Then last fall I was training for the Philadelphia Marathon [during the fall 2020 ATC Challenge] and wanted to do a lot more miles.
A LOT more miles – 1052, in all! About how many miles does that work out to per day?
It works out to an average of about 10 miles per day – I was trying to get around seventy to eighty miles a week. After a few weeks when I saw I was pretty high on the leaderboard I kept going, challenging myself to run more miles than then the bikers could bike.
Did you have company for any of your challenge? Your kids again?
They came out for some parts of the hikes, but my dog Cocoa was there for the majority of the miles. We rescued her when COVID began and she ran with me for the challenge… she’s a German Shorthaired Pointer. The longest run we did together was 22 miles, along the entire yellow and orange trails.
What’s your favorite trail in the park?
Forbidden Drive is of course my favorite because there are mile markers and it’s relatively flat which as a distance runner makes it ideal. However, I really like the idea I can just go anywhere in the park and know where I am going on all fifty miles of trails.
Are you planning on doing the ATC again this year?
Yes, I am planning on doing it and I have a crazy idea which I’m not sure if I’ll dare to do… Run all fifty miles on the first day!
You’re sure you want to include that in here? Now you’ve got to do it!
It’s fine, you can put it in! I’m putting it out there in case someone wants to join me.
We hope you’re not scared by Bryce’s amazing achievements – ATC isn’t a race and you don’t have to be a conditioned athlete to take part! Instead, it’s an opportunity to get back in touch with the beauty of the whole Wissahickon. FOW members will be able to register for the All Trails Challenge beginning on August 17th and get a leg up on the competition – join or renew your membership today! – while August 31st will be the official start for everyone else. Get all the details and a sneak peek of the schedule at our ATC Virtual Warm-Up Information Event on August 12.