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Man Runs Entire 125 mile Paumanok Path Non-Stop

Man Runs Entire 125 mile Paumanok Path Non-Stop

Byron Lane’s closet is full of running shoes. The veteran of Double Iron Man competitions has eight pairs: two for trails, two soft-soled, two firm, a pair that has nearly run its course, and a new pair waiting for scuff and mud.

Byron Lane, school teacher and endurance runner on Oct. 14-15, 2000 (Full Moon) ran the entire 125 mile trail non-stop. Some of his trail running friends accompanied him along portions of the path.  The spectacular nature of this undertaking will attract people's interest and help introduce the residents of this island to its natural treasures. The trail is 90% completed. Within the next few years, we will have accomplished our goal of a 125-mile recreation trail.  Hiking Long Island sent press releases to Newsday (“it’s where you live”) and News 12 (“as local as local news gets”) and followed up with phone calls.  They didn’t consider Byron’s superhuman feat to be newsworthy.  The Southampton Press saw the newsworthiness of the event and published the article written by Maryann Calendrille and Kathryn Szoka.  Much of the following text is the result of their effort

Lane used only two pairs to run 125 miles of the Paumanok Path, all the way from Rocky Point to the rocks below the Montauk Lighthouse, with only short breaks along the way. The trip, which includes the leg of the path traversing the South Fork, took him 35 hours and 10 minutes—nearly a day and a half.

Lane has been running since he was 7, when he raced with his dad on a one-mile cinder track in their St. James neighborhood. One day, Lane beat his dad—and that was their last father-son race. Throughout high school and college, Lane ran track and cross-country.

At his home in Stony Brook, while his 22-month-old daughter, Olivia, raced around the room, Lane said he sees running as a “way to keep a balance in my life. Running is a spiritual thing. It centers me.” And long-distance runs are nothing new for him—they’re his forte.

In 1989, when he was 21, Lane set the Same Age National Record for a 12-hour run, completing 68.25 miles. That same year, Lane entered a 24-hour run, capturing the Same Age Record by completing 80 miles.

“I took a nap after 70 miles,” Lane recalled, “then got up with enough time left to make the record. It’s all about pace and conserving energy.”

In 1990, Lane ran another 12-hour race, completed 70 miles, and again set the Same Age Record. Last summer, Lane placed fifth in Virginia’s Double Iron Man race, which involved biking, running and kayaking for 28.5 hours.

Now 32, Lane challenged himself to run the entire Paumanok Path to publicize the greenbelt-in-progress. Today, groups including the Southampton and East Hampton Trails Preservation Societies and the Group for the South Fork hope to complete the midsection of the path in Southampton Town, where all of the absent segments are.

Southampton Trails Preservation Society President Dai Dayton said she is optimistic that the Paumanok Path will be completed in several years. “There’s a mechanism in place. The sites have been well-mapped,” she said, adding that while preservation funds are available, more are needed. The 400-member group also still needs help cutting and blazing trails.

Lane, a third-grade teacher at Harborfields School in Greenlawn, wanted to help. He’d taken time off to care for son, Zachary, 4, and daughter Olivia. “My wife, Melora, and I decided to take turns being at home with the kids,” he said. Melora teaches sixth grade math in Hauppauge Middle School. “I was looking for a long fun run on Long Island. Friends told me about the Paumanok Path and said call Ken Kindler.”

Kindler, a hiking enthusiast himself, was flabbergasted—while he said he’d do anything to promote its use, Kindler found Lane’s proposal extreme. “How could anyone run 30 straight hours?” he said, recalling his reaction to Lane’s plan.

Ken Kindler enthusiastically supported Lane’s effort, and proved a trustworthy buddy during the run, shadowing Lane in his car and meeting him at checkpoints with supplies. “I’d get worried if Lane was late,” Ken admitted. Lane packed a cell phone to keep in touch, but it didn’t always work.

A runner must approach an endurance challenge in a very different fashion than he would a normal road race, Lane said. “It’s less about competition and more about being in nature, enjoying it to the fullest and feeling a sense of accomplishment for finishing,” he said. Lane added that when he enters a Double Iron Man race, he doesn’t think about the competition until near the end, with a mere 26 miles—about the length of a typical marathon—to go. “It’s all in conserving energy and pacing yourself,” he repeated.

Preparing for the Paumanok Path, Lane tailored his training to include a six-hour Sunday run starting at 5 a.m. On Wednesdays he’d load the kids in a jogger and run up and down a steep hill for an hour with them in tow. “The kids love it. Zachary is learning to count, so he got a lesson along the way,” he said. Lane also biked with friends 60 miles in three hours each Saturday until the run.

On Saturday, Lane left Rocky Point at 7:20 a.m. under bright blue skies. Carrying an eight-pound pack of provisions, and wearing his New Balance running shoes, Lane hit the dirt—literally: just three minutes onto the trail, he tripped and fell over a tree stump. “I just laughed,” recalled Lane. His water bottle broke, and a bottle of energy drink burst, covering him in a gooey glaze.

During the midday heat, while running a sandy and hilly section of the path, Lane slowed his pace to three miles per hour. “I walked up every hill. For each hill I didn’t run, I gave myself three extra miles of running energy.” Through the afternoon until dusk, he managed a pace of four miles per hour and ran over a three-mile stretch of road along Edge of Woods and Deerfield roads near Water Mill, since the trail is incomplete.

Lane fueled his foray with 20 ounces of liquid per hour and 100 calories per mile, “more or less.” He didn’t stop to eat, only munching Fig Newtons, high-energy snacks and electrolyte capsules.

Overnight, he slowed again to three miles per hour and ran with friends who volunteered to help Lane keep alert. Wearing headlamps and carrying flashlights, the night runners had trouble following the new trail—they strained to find blazes designed for day hikers.

While Lane said night fatigue was the worst part of the trek, “running with friends and enjoying the trail together was the best part for me.” By dawn, he increased his pace, chugged through the day, and finished at the Montauk Lighthouse at 6:30 Sunday evening.

“The trail is beautiful,” he remarked. “I saw many birds and creatures, and the trees are turning bright colors.”

Lane finished the run in his Saucony shoes. “I felt super!” he exclaimed. “My legs and body feel fatigue-free.”

Excerpts from: Southampton Press 10/19/2000




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