By Kate Dixon

On Thursday, May 10th, Diane Van Deren, a 2010 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will set off from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to attempt a new speed record for the MST. To do that, she will need to reach Jockey’s Ridge State Park in less than 24 days to break the record set last year by Matt Kirk of Marion, NC.


Diane Van Deren is an extraordinary athlete who spent 10 years of her life racked by epilepsy. Radical brain surgery left her seizure-free and with a side benefit of super-human endurance. She has completed many extraordinary ultra-races including the Yukon Artic Ultra – 430 miles of frozen tundra in the dead of winter.


Diane first learned of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail when she spoke in Raleigh last October during a speaker series sponsored by The North Face. She says “I was immediately intrigued by the diversity of terrain and natural beauty of the MST.”


Diane’s run is being sponsored by The North Face and by Great Outdoor Provision Co. in honor of its 40th year in business, Great Outdoor is also seeking to raise $40,000 for FMST in conjunction with Diane’s expedition.


You can be part of Diane’s expedition in several ways:

  • Track Diane’s progress. Diane will be wearing a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger which will allow you to follow her progress online.
  • Recruit a “cheer team” of people to join you to cheer for Diane as she runs the trail in your area. (Contact FMST Executive Director Kate Dixon for more information at
  • Help Great Outdoor Provision Co. raise $40,000 for the trail by:
  • Come to the party to celebrate Diane’s run at your local Great Outdoor Provision Co. store on National Trails Day – Saturday, June 2nd from 5 pm to 7 pm.