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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
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"God bless you, Jim, for your faithful and dedicated work in keeping Sue going."   - Diane, a good friend from Michigan

"I’ve really enjoyed reading your journal.  You two have accomplished so much as a team ... I really appreciate all Jim has done to make everything work."       - Barbara, Sue's  cousin 


"Runtrails & Company" at the start (above) on Springer Mountain in Georgia.

Note from Sue:

These readers, and many others who recognized and praised Jim's dedicated support, are absolutely correct: I could never have accomplished this goal without him!

So how did he fare during the journey run? Here are his comments about our grand adventure:



Well, that was quite a summer!! A summer neither Sue nor I will soon forget.

Oh, there were days I wished we hadn’t even started, but they were few and far between. I think I griped a lot at the time; I regret that now. I hope I didn’t spoil it for her. I made some sacrifices, but when you love someone, and those efforts mean so much for the one you love, they’re not that difficult to make. Sue had so much drive and desire for what she was doing, she was an inspiration to me.

"Jim, I can tell from Sue's writing how much she appreciates you!  The fact you are willing to help her shows how much she means to you."       - Jerri from Alberta, Canada

As much as we enjoyed the summer, I have a few regrets. There are a lot of days I wish we could do over again. I wish I had spent more time on the trails with Sue. Every day she would tell me about the beautiful things she saw, and she had thousands of pictures, but I regret not being there with her more.

[Photo below: one of the days (53) that Jim ran some with Sue, on Blackrock Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.]

I wish we had spent more time enjoying our newfound freedom to wander the countryside, discovering more about this beautiful part of the country. I felt some pressure to get back home; I felt there were things here that needed to be taken care of. I see now that wasn’t true.

I tend to worry about things before they happen. I had every vision possible before we even started – missed meeting points, human threats, vehicle breakdowns, runner breakdowns, and dangerous weather conditions, to name a few, were all in the back of my mind. Yes, they all came to be, but we got through them.

[Photo below: Jim and Sue in dense fog on top of Mt. Moosilauke in New Hampshire on Day 116.]

We really had no time constraints, no deadlines, no one to answer to. We were on our own and could do whatever we wanted. These were some of the things I had dreamed of all those years while working. Every day brought new challenges. Some were mere annoyances, while others required innovative thought and cooperative teamwork to get the job done.

". . . Also kudos to Jim for all his crewing and support. After just crewing Hal III for Colorado Trail and most of his 100-mile races, we can't imagine doing all that for four months. True love, as you said."    - ultra runner Hal Koerner's parents

I studied and minored in history in college so I was particularly interested in the Civil War sites that were close to the Trail. Gettysburg and Harpers Ferry come to mind. I spent several hours at both these locations. Period architecture was also just fascinating. I often found myself looking up while walking through small towns.

[Photo below: Jim enjoying the history in Harpers Ferry on Day 59.]

If you are a potential crew person, my advice to you is to enjoy the moment. You likely won’t ever be doing this same trail again. Take your time, as much as your commitments will allow. Your runner/hiker doesn’t need to feel rushed and you should take this opportunity to see as much of the Trail and surrounding countryside as time permits. Get your necessary “stuff” done early in the day, plan what you need to do to pick up your runner/hiker, then just relax and enjoy your free time.

Yes, it was quite a summer. I had a lot of fun and I am grateful to have been a part of Sue’s dream.

[Note: this subject continues in the next entry.]

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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© 2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil