What does Harvey carry with him while he’s out and about on the Appalachian Trail? We caught up with him on one his stops to have a peek.
Harvey Lewis Runs
the Appalachian Trail
When he isn’t teaching high school or guiding clients on overseas adventures, Harvey Lewis is running. It’s what drives him to push his limits, to redefine what’s possible. And that very mindset is what inspired his current challenge: running the Appalachian Trail faster than anyone in history. Almost 2,200 miles across 14 states in just over 40 days. Crazy? Perhaps. But that hasn’t stopped him yet.
We all have goals in life—just like Harvey. Things that push us, that make us better. Join us as we follow along and support him on his epic journey.
wheres harvey, harvey lewis, where s harvey, where's harvey
Stay up-to-date on Harvey and all things ROAD iD.
Learn More @ appalachiantrail.org
0No. of States
00.0mi.Avg. Miles Per Day
0,000.0mi.Total distance traveled
000,0000ft.Total Elevation Gain
May 30thStart Date
July 14thPossible Finish Date
Updates from the Trail
What's in Harvey's Pack?
What does Harvey carry with him while he’s out and about on the Appalachian Trail? We caught up with him...
Week 4 News Spotlight
WCPO’s weekly #WheresHarvey news update! Harvey has reached the 50% mark with over 1,100 miles under his belt. Weekly news...
WCPO’s weekly #WheresHarvey news update! Harvey has reached the 50% mark with over 1,100 miles under his belt. Weekly news updates can be seen every Thursday on WCPO - 9 On Your Side’s Good Morning Tri-State.
Week 3 News Spotlight
WCPO’s weekly #WheresHarvey news update! They highlight the wonderful folks who came out to support Harvey by running through his...
WCPO’s weekly #WheresHarvey news update! They highlight the wonderful folks who came out to support Harvey by running through his favorite parts of the city and offering words of encouragement. Weekly news updates can be seen every Thursday on WCPO - 9 On Your Side’s Good Morning Tri-State.
Day 14 Rundown
There are so many things that HAVE to go right each day.... (and seems like so many more things that...
There are so many things that HAVE to go right each day.... (and seems like so many more things that could go wrong). Micromanaging things like Harvey’s nutrition and calorie intake, sleep, injuries, navigation, adjusting to weather conditions, analyzing each days segments, dealing with no WiFi, changing crew dynamics, trying to be as efficient and organized as possible, the list goes on and in....and perhaps most importantly, not forgetting the Garmin Tracker and not getting lost. One mistake in any of these areas could be devastating, especially the last two.
With that in mind, many of you have asked why his tracker locations do not match the map.
Is he done? Off course?
The crew HAS confirmed with Harvey that he IS seeing the white AT markings, so he IS ON COURSE. His logistics team of Matt Garrod and Luke Thoreson are on top of it, communicating with the crew and Harvey. Also, resident AT expert, Warren Doyle has confirmed, “The red trail is the old trail. The new relocation before and after the New River has not been updated. So he is on the trail.”
This promises to be a tough day. Foot and band concerns linger. Arrival into Pearisville last night was downhill but wet, technical and slow moving in the dark. Today’s climb back out will NOT be an easy one.
Moving Mountains: A Father-Son Team on the Appalachian Trail
The entire hillside washed onto the mountain road, making it impossible to head north. Torrential downpours created wrecks all over...
The entire hillside washed onto the mountain road, making it impossible to head north. Torrential downpours created wrecks all over the winding mountain roads of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Trees were down.
Dense fog clung to the asphalt, and we were running out of time to meet ultrarunner Harvey Lewis at Unicoi Gap.
I’ll come back to this. First, some background:
When Harvey told me he was planning to break the world record for completing the AT in the fastest assisted time, I wasn’t surprised. Here’s a guy who won Badwater 135, which is a 135-mile foot race near Death Valley. He literally ran through the Valley of Death. And he won. He beat mother nature, and he outpaced his fellow ultrarunners. That’s some serious intensity.
Last month, Harvey ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, but missed his goal time of 2:45, finishing at 2:50. It was an unusually hot day, and he was wiped out crossing the finish line. Two medics held him up while he dumped water on his head to cool down. As he began to recover, he said two things:
1. “Hey, are you guys doing okay?” The film crew and I? Yeah, we’re fine Harvey. We’ve been standing around in the shade, waiting for you to finish running 26.2 miles in the hot sun. But thanks for asking.
2. And (I’m paraphrasing this one) “I didn’t accomplish my goal today, but if you set easy goals, you’ll never get stronger.”
This perfectly sums up who Harvey is.
In order to break the existing record, he’ll need to average about 50 miles per day for 45 days, stopping briefly to refuel on the freshly-prepared vegan meals whipped up by his 78-year-old father. When your body is working this hard, you need 8,000-9,000 calories per day to keep going. That’s a bucket of blueberry oatmeal, or roughly two Cinnabons.
My first experience with Harvey was shooting this commercial for ROAD iD last Fall, and I had no idea what to expect. In order to achieve some of the shots shown in the video, we had to lug in about 500 pounds of audio-video gear, including a giant drone...which Harvey carried himself when he wasn’t running up and down the rocky ridges of Red River Gorge in Kentucky. He made instant friends with strangers on the trail, always drawing some sort of connection with each person he shook hands with.
By the end of the day, we were total pals, hugging it out in the parking lot. I defy you to dislike this guy and his tidal wave of positivity and determination. One time, he told me he could tell I’d been working out, and I think I blushed (not a lot though).
Maybe that sums up who Harvey is.
Suffice to say that when he asked me to help document this adventure, I was all in. I was excited about the size and scope of his declaration: he would attempt to complete the Appalachian Trail in the fastest assisted time ever recorded.
I was excited about how many runners and hikers he would inspire. I was excited that it was the perfect story for ROAD iD to tell, because he was off on a dangerous adventure where anything could happen.
Most of all, I was excited that he was doing it with his dad at the helm of the follow vehicle. And herein lies the meaty, universal theme of this story. We all want our parents to be proud of us. As we age, we discover a newfound appreciation for them. We realize that the passage of time cannot be slowed, and the moments we create with them are fleeting. Special.
When I interviewed Harvey two weeks ago, I found he was coming to this realization.
For him, it’s not about getting into the record books. It’s about finding adventure with his dad, who’s also an avid outdoorsman. It’s about creating the moments that live forever as they’re shared across the campfire by grandkids and fellow runners. It’s about legacy.
By 8 AM on Memorial day, I was headed south, stuffed into a minivan with the Harris Media film crew as we followed Harvey and his dad in their modified F-250 work van. As we crossed into Tennessee, a tropical storm was forming along the Gulf Coast, and it would ultimately make its way north to meet us head-on near Springer Mountain, Georgia.
That evening, we checked into cabins at the Forrest Hills Resort, a popular starting point for Appalachian Trail hikers. Harvey would begin at 5:56 the next morning at the southern terminus of the trail. Naturally, he made friends with the resort owner (who also owns over twenty cats) and even talked him into leading us up Springer Mountain to the terminus.
As the weather reports filtered in over dinner, we quickly realized it would be too dangerous for Harvey to begin the next morning. We made the decision to delay the start by one day. This would also afford us time to investigate the trail head, and figure out how to get there, which seemed to be a mystery to everyone we spoke with.
The roads around Springer Mountain barely qualify as such; sharp drop-offs on one side, shoulderless, muddy pits on the other, and riddled with melon-sized rocks cropping up in the center. We took it on in a Toyota Sienna. I don’t recommend it.
We weren’t certain where the terminus was, so we wanted to find it a day early to avoid making a mistake in the darkness of the next morning. As everyone geared up for the hike to the terminus, the skies opened up. Ponchos were assigned to every human and every camera. The trail was a basically a rocky mountain stream, punctuated with shin-deep pools of flowing water.
Along the way, we noted the Dangerous Bear Area sign posted at a trail junction.
I hiked up alongside Harvey’s father (Harvey Jr.), chatting about his days as a mining engineer, and about how his son’s planning skills leave much to be desired. When we reached the terminus, we took a look at the famous log book and grabbed some photos.
As the Harris Media crew departed to capture more footage back in town, Harvey decided he wanted to test-run the first eight miles of the trail, and I saddled up in the crew van to navigate for his dad. With no cell service, persistent fog, and a labyrinth of side roads, getting lost is a pretty easy thing to do. So I was happy to lend a hand, allowing Harvey Jr. to concentrate on navigating the perilous roads to Hightower Gap and beyond.
We arrived with almost two hours to kill, and it was here that I was able to truly press pause on life for the first time in several months. Harvey Jr. set about making camp, methodically unfolding a portable table, and firing up a Coleman stove. Nothing could be heard but the chorus of leaves and songbirds up here. Occasionally, an Army Humvee would come trundling by, as they conduct ranger training in this area. But otherwise, silence.
On the way back to town, I sat in the passenger seat, hiding my amusement every time Harvey asked his dad to drive slower. “Slow down dad, we’re not in a hurry today. These roads are wet.”
This occurred roughly 12 times over the next hour.
That evening, we all sat together at dinner, and Harvey enjoyed his last meal at an establishment for the next seven weeks.
* * *
The noise was shrill and deafening, like a Kesha concert. It was the sound of a $5 hotel alarm clock flashing 3:30 AM. Time to get up.
The rain had returned, and we groggily packed up and left the cabins behind for good, shaking off wet ponchos from the day before.
Again, we rumbled and bounced up the mountain road, this time silence. Partly due to the hour, but mostly we were nervous for Harvey. Anything could go wrong, delaying his start time; daylight is everything on the trail, and you need all of it when your goal is 50 miles per day.
On the way up, we crossed paths with a full-grown copperhead snake. Not something you want to see at 4:30 AM in the pouring rain. My wife would have turned the van around instantly. Luckily, she wasn’t invited on this trip.
We arrived at the trailhead without incident and began pulling up hoods and covering equipment. The trail quickly dissolved into blackness, water flowing swiftly under our feet. Halfway up to the terminus, Harvey turned to me and said, “Mike, I’ve gotta speed up to get there on time, I’m gonna go fast.” And he took off.
As I hustled to keep up, I realized two things while sloshing over streams and steeply angled rock embankments: 1) I was glad I brought good hiking shoes, and 2) I didn’t have my own headlamp.
I guessed where to step in between the shadows, steadying myself on trees where available, focusing on the small patch of light 10 feet ahead. Harvey widened the gap. No way was I gonna ask him to wait up, so I finally gave in and watched him disappear up the hill and into the pre-dawn fog.
I was stuck until daylight. A headlamp-less moron, dead in the water.
The mountainside enveloped me in darkness, the howling wind and rattling rain on the canopy above keeping me company.
I felt my way to the nearest boulder and had a seat. Some ten minutes later, a faint, greenish light slowly illuminated the forest. It was unbelievably peaceful.
Over the course of the day we talked to several other hikers, and everyone was curious to meet Harvey, like Lauren, an AT backpacker who's son was also named...you guessed it. Harvey.
I spent the balance of the day riding shotgun with Harvey’s dad, navigating and mapping while he drove and cooked meals for his son. He remarked how energizing it was to be around “young people” again, and we ruminated on the differences between Minnesota and Kentucky. We even caught a glimpse of sunshine at one point.
We surprised Harvey a few times by intercepting him along the trail, where has glad to grab a snack and swap out his soggy shoes.
At one point while the cameras were off, I overheard Harvey asking his dad if he had a chance to take a nap, as we’d been going since 3:30 AM.
“No,” he said. “But that’s alright, maybe tomorrow.”
“If you wanna grab a nap, I could maybe just keep on running through and meet you at a later stop.”
Fifty miles a day, and he’s worried about his dad getting a nap in.
How can you not root for this guy?
The last stop of the day was Unicoi Gap, a nondescript gravel lot that would cap off a 52-mile day for Harvey. He would be tired, wet, and hungry.
Now we’ve arrived back at the beginning.
The road crew stopped us at the intersection of 75A and Georgia Route 17 North. There were police and construction lights everywhere.
Harvey Jr. rolled down the window and we were greeted by an orange-vested, shaggy-haired guy with a massive dip in his jowls.
“We’re headed up to Unicoi gap” I told him.
“Not today you ain’t. The whole hill’s washed out up there on both sides, nobody’s gettin’ through.”
His only advice was to make the 45 minute drive around the mountain ridge so we could try and get through the northern roadblock.
“I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to get through up there, but it’s the only other way in.” And so we turned around, the Harris Media crew van in tow.
The sun drifted low in the mountainous sky and as it disappeared behind the clouds, Harvey’s dad pressed harder on the gas pedal. I could see him fidgeting with his free hand every time I looked up from my map. He was worried.
Finally, I asked him to slow down as he was piloting up the snake-like road as if the work van were a sprint car.
We made it to the northern blockade, and the crew attempted to turn us away. We hopped out, approached the vehicle, and more or less told them they’d have to stop us if they didn’t want us getting through. I was prepared to run south on foot to ensure Harvey wasn’t left hanging after his grueling day on the trail.
Luckily, they hesitantly agreed and we slipped through the blockade, arriving at Unicoi gap well ahead of Harvey.
That night the film crew shot my favorite scene thus far: Harvey and his dad, sitting together along the opened side door of the van, chatting about the day as the daylight softened and dissolved into night.
When you’re telling a story, this is the stuff you live for.
Shortly after, we said our goodbyes and vowed to return soon.
There's something about the mountains that pulls you in. I don't know if it's beauty, freedom, danger, serenity, or the escape. Maybe it's all of the above. But when you leave, you somehow feel younger. Energized. And all you can think about is getting back out there.
Right about now, Harvey's running on a ridge somewhere in northeastern Tennessee with a smile on face.
1800 miles to go. We're all rooting for you pal.
You can keep up with all things Harvey and follow his record-breaking journey at roadid.com/harvey.
Week 2 News Spotlight
Our friends over at WCPO (9 On Your Side) keep the coverage rolling through week two of Harvey Watch. Weekly...
Our friends over at WCPO (9 On Your Side) keep the coverage rolling through week two of Harvey Watch. Weekly segments air each Thursday during their Good Morning Tri-State coverage.
Day 9 Rundown
After a long day yesterday logging 62 miles, Harvey left for trail head and was running by about 6:55am. Harvey,...
After a long day yesterday logging 62 miles, Harvey left for trail head and was running by about 6:55am.————
Tracey Outlaw is manning Harvey’s Facebook page while he’s conquering the Appalachian Trail. Come back each day for regular updates to learn what Harvey has slated for the day and how he’s progressing.
The #WheresHarvey Run!
A HUGE shout-out to everyone who showed up and ran the #WheresHarvey Run last night! An incredible turnout that truly...
A HUGE shout-out to everyone who showed up and ran the #WheresHarvey Run last night! An incredible turnout that truly shows what Harvey means to the tri-state area and its many runners. We captured a ton of great footage that we’ll share in the coming days and that will no doubt give Harvey some positive energy and motivation on his journey. Go Harvey!
Day 7 Rundown
Harvey made it over the Big Firescald Bald and is now at 308 miles total (almost 500 km for our...
Harvey made it over the Big Firescald Bald and is now at 308 miles total (almost 500 km for our international friends). Harvey should be with his crew now at Devil's Fork and is closing in on Rector Laurel Rd. He has covered 20 miles today thus far.
A friendly reminder about tonight’s run to support Harvey! Come join us at Washington Park as we traverse his favorite parts of the city. The meetup is scheduled for 6:30 and the running will start around 6:45. We will track everyone's combined elevation and compare to Harvey's (currently over 90,000 ft). Local ABC affiliate, WCPO - 9 On Your Side, will be there for coverage. Grab a friend and come join us as we send some positive energy Harvey’s way!
Harvey Needs Our Help!
Running 50+ miles a day requires some serious sustenance. Like, a lot. Harvey took an ample supply of trail fuel...
Running 50+ miles a day requires some serious sustenance. Like, a lot. Harvey took an ample supply of trail fuel with him, but he’s already running low on some of his go-to meals, and could use some help.
We have a small support team meeting up with Harvey this upcoming weekend (6/9-6/10), and we could use your help gathering some of his favorites for delivery. The list of what Harvey has requested is below. If you want to chip in and help Harvey on his journey, donations can be dropped off between 9am-4pm EST at our address (also below), but it must be done before NOON on Friday (6/8).
- Annie Chun’s Yakisoba Noodle Bowls
- Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Noodle Bowls
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Lenny and Larry Cookies
- Any other vegan meals that only require hot water. Backpacker's Pantry has a good selection.
35 W 8th Street
Covington, KY 41011
Along with the requested foodstuffs, please feel free to include anything else you think will help Harvey. Handwritten notes, pictures, stories—anything to motivate him and pass along some positive energy. Harvey thrives on that stuff and every little bit helps.
And finally, on behalf of Harvey, thank you. Your kindness and support has helped get him this far, but we cannot stop now. He still has a ways to go!
Day 6 Rundown
As of 8:30am this morning, Harvey is back on the trail and has already covered over 9 miles. Today, Harvey...
As of 8:30am this morning, Harvey is back on the trail and has already covered over 9 miles. Today, Harvey will traverse more of the Smokey's saw tooth ridges. Nothing as treacherous as the past two days in terms of inclines and declines, but still gnarly. If he can get through that, the smooth grassy Max Patch Summit awaits at 4,624 ft.————
Tracey Outlaw is manning Harvey’s Facebook page while he’s conquering the Appalachian Trail. Come back each day for regular updates to learn what Harvey has slated for the day and how he’s progressing.
Recap: Day 2 Rundown
Day 2 is in the books! Harvey had another successful outing yesterday—nearly matching his day 1 output with 52.5 miles,...
Day 2 is in the books! Harvey had another successful outing yesterday—nearly matching his day 1 output with 52.5 miles, which put him over 105 miles total for the first two days. He’s still dealing with frequent rain showers, but Mother Nature will have to do better than that to slow down ol’ Harvey.
He’s staying positive as always and already off to a good start today. He hit the trail just after 6:00am this morning, and as of the time of this posting, he’s already covered over 17 miles!
Remember to send him words of encouragement using the hashtag #WheresHarvey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and don't forget to check back daily for more content straight from the trail!
Tools of the Trail
Running the Appalachian Trail faster than any human in history requires plenty of coordination and logistics. Harvey and his crew...
Running the Appalachian Trail faster than any human in history requires plenty of coordination and logistics. Harvey and his crew rely on all sorts of technology and other trail amenities to assist them on their journey—from simple outdoor must-haves to the latest and greatest in cutting-edge tech. We highlighted some of them below.
And a special shout-out to Harvey’s sponsors who helped make his journey possible:
- Structural Elements - solutions for orthopedic wellness and athletic performance.
- Run Quest Travel - where the paths of adventure, travel and running intersect.
- CLIF Bar - good food that feeds and inspires the adventure in all of us.
- 2XU - the world’s most technical sportswear company.
- Garmin Outdoor - GPS navigation and wearable tech for life on the outside.
- Swiftwick Socks - the best socks you’ll ever wear, sustainably produced in the USA.
- Sierra Club - the nation’s most influential grassroots environmental organization.
Week 1 News Spotlight
Our friends at WCPO (9 On Your Side) are helping keep the tri-state up-to-date on Harvey’s progress. Check back every...
Our friends at WCPO (9 On Your Side) are helping keep the tri-state up-to-date on Harvey’s progress. Check back every Thursday for news and updates you may have missed!
Recap: Day 1 Rundown
Harvey’s first day went well! He got started around 3:30am and accomplished his goal of reaching Unicoi Gap around 8:30pm...
Harvey’s first day went well! He got started around 3:30am and accomplished his goal of reaching Unicoi Gap around 8:30pm last night. In all, he covered just over 53 miles!
With much of the trail being waterlogged, it was tough sledding for most of the day. In fact, the crew had to navigate several mudslides and frequent torrential downpours. Harvey changed shoes four times and is already fighting blisters, but was still in good spirits and was ready for his first night sleeping in the van.
Don’t forget to send him words of encouragement using the hashtag #WheresHarvey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And don't forget to come back each day for more exclusive content straight from the trail!
Harvey Puts a Positive Spin on His Rain Delay
Harvey's epic journey was scheduled to begin yesterday, but Mother Nature had other plans. Of course, Harvey took it in...
Harvey's epic journey was scheduled to begin yesterday, but Mother Nature had other plans. Of course, Harvey took it in stride and made the best of it. Watch as he recounts the unfortunate circumstances of the delay and looks on the bright side (as he always does).
Don't forget to reach out to Harvey using the hashtag #WheresHarvey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He reads every comment and post (when he's not running) and your positive words really do make a difference. Go Harvey!
Day 1: Watch Harvey's First Steps
The adventure begins! A journey of 2,200 miles starts with a single step, and after a soggy delay yesterday, Harvey...
The adventure begins! A journey of 2,200 miles starts with a single step, and after a soggy delay yesterday, Harvey is cruising through his first full day of running. We're super excited to track him on our interactive map and see the progress he's making.
Don't forget to send him words of encouragement or offer some sage wisdom by using the hashtag #WheresHarvey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And don't forget to come back each day for more exclusive content straight from the trail!
Hiking with Drones in the Gorge: Behind the Scenes with Harvey Lewis
A lot goes into a video shoot. Hours of planning, getting up at the crack of dawn, traveling to the...
A lot goes into a video shoot. Hours of planning, getting up at the crack of dawn, traveling to the destination, wrangling 100's of pounds of expensive gear, and managing the talent. We had the footage, so we thought we'd give you a peek behind the curtains of our latest shoot.
A big shout-out and thank you to everyone at Harris Media and the star of the show himself, Mr. Harvey Lewis. We couldn't have asked for better people to join us on this journey. If you haven't already, check out our original post with the finished product. Enjoy!
Harvey Lewis: Find Your Trail, Escape the Noise
As a Cincinnati native and all-around awesome individual, Harvey Lewis enjoys himself a good run every now and then. Nothing...
As a Cincinnati native and all-around awesome individual, Harvey Lewis enjoys himself a good run every now and then. Nothing too crazy, just casual strolls like the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, which he won with a time just shy of 24 hours.
The Badwater is often considered the World’s Toughest Race—and rightfully so—as participants are forced to trek, non-stop, through the scorching heat of Death Valley, with temperatures well exceeding 100 degrees and elevations topping-out over 8,000 feet.
But that’s just another day at the office for ol’ Harvey, and only one race on an impressive resume of ultramarathons over the past 20 years. We recently caught up with Harvey at Red River Gorge to capture some footage in his natural habitat and ask him some hard-hitting questions.
Talk about your running roots and what made you decide to start training with such determination.
I really love to get out and explore remote areas. To me, it’s exhilarating to experience new places and experience them while running. There’s something about lacing up your shoes and just getting out there. You may not know exactly where you’re headed, but the entire experience is priceless. It’s something that’s zen, it’s relaxing, and it energizes me for the other things in life.
Describe the trail. What is it that pulls you in, that makes you want to run?
The trail is a place where you can go and escape the noise, all of life’s challenges that are pulling at you from different angles—your work, your responsibilities, your bills, the Big City—you get out there on the trail and get into that moment that's just perfect. It gives you the opportunity to reflect on life, to think about where you’re going, to just be one with the nature around you and be happy. It's an amazing experience that's entirely free.
You’ve run in nearly 90 countries. What is one of the more memorable experiences from your travels?
One of my most memorable experiences is definitely going to Portugal. I almost have a second family there—my good friend, Carlos—and the Portuguese people are entirely warm and welcoming. Every summer I take people from America over there to do running and hiking holidays. We have an amazing experience every year, out there exploring.
Have you ever wrangled a wild horse while in Portugal?
Hah! That’s a good question. We actually see wild horses every year in Portugal. We run on these Roman roads that are two millennia old, and you see these bridges that look like they were built in the last decade—they’re as fresh as when they were constructed by the Romans, and we often find wild horses out there roaming in the mix.
What is your go-to tip for trail running, or running in general?
The number one thing about running and trail running is having fun. I recommend getting out there on your own sometimes so you can get that meditative quality, by being out there in nature. But you should also get out there with friends or with your running group. There’s something special about that, too—it’s motivating.
You’re a super nice guy. Have you always been this nice?
Hah, no! Just ask my students! I have my moments, like everyone, when I’m challenged. What I try to remember in those moments is to remain positive. That’s what ultra running has taught me. Going out there and doing a race that’s 100+ miles—like Badwater—you experience things that are unbelievable at times, that are excruciating. But I embrace it and I stay positive.
You’re somewhat of a celebrity in the Cincinnati area. Why do you think you’re inspiring to so many people?
It’s a humbling experience to have the opportunity to impact people. I think part of it is that I’ve been able to have these adventures on such a shoestring budget. A lot of other professional athletes, that's what they do full-time. But I recently ran the Big Backyard Ultra, over 240 miles, and then ran to teach high school the very next day!
The Flying Pig Marathon is near and dear to your heart. Tell us why that is.
The Flying Pig is one of the best races in the whole world. It has brought so many people into running that never would have otherwise. You can’t go anywhere on the weekend without seeing these running groups taking over the city. Cincinnati, at one time, was ranked as one of the least healthy cities in the country, but the Pig is changing that! People come from all over the world, from every state, to run in the race. And this year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary!
So what’s next for Harvey Lewis?
Well, I have something really big on the horizon this Summer. I’m not going to give it away just yet, but it’s going to be really big and involve a lot of people ... and ROAD iD, as well. I’m super thrilled about it.
Lastly, what does ROAD iD mean to you and your family?
ROAD iD is a layer of security. I’m big on going out in remote places. I’ve traveled to 89 countries, to all the continents, and I’m often in the middle of nowhere, maybe in China, for example, in the Gobi Desert, where the nearest human is a long ways away. Having a ROAD iD is one additional layer of comfort for my family and friends. That way, if something were to happen, someone could at least know, “Hey, this is Harvey.”————
Harvey Lewis is a teacher and ultramarathon runner in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has competed in more than 50 ultramarathons over the past 20 years, specializing in races greater than 100 miles that range from extreme heat to extreme cold, and from mountainous to the roads. Recently, he won the 2017 24 Hour National Championship in which he ran 241 miles in 58 hours at Big's Backyard Ultra. He also takes people on running/hiking holidays with the company he founded, RunQuest Travel. He has run in 89 countries and has a dream of exploring every country while running.
Follow along with Harvey on his many journeys at the links below. And for some additional wisdom, check out Harvey's 11 Safety Tips All Runners Should Know.
11 Safety Tips All Runners Should Know
In my 27 years of running experience, I have accumulated the following tips that can benefit runners of all ages...
In my 27 years of running experience, I have accumulated the following tips that can benefit runners of all ages and skill sets. My intent is not to instill fear or limit your freedom, but to fuel your confidence and further empower you to pursue adventure, no matter how you define it.
In general, always try to anticipate potential threats. Be prepared to react quickly and calmly if the situation depends on it. While this list covers a large variety of safety issues, it is in no particular order and is not meant to be all inclusive.
1) Lightning and Ice - There are two instances I generally try to avoid when running outside: lightning and ice. Snow doesn't bother me much, but if there is a thin layer of ice on the ground, it's worth staying indoors. The same is true for lightning that's nearby. The probability of injury is not worth the return on your investment of time and energy.
2) Hot and Cold - Generally speaking, heat is much more dangerous to runners than cold, especially if you're not accustomed to exercising in warm conditions. When braving the heat, always have access to water, wear clothing to block the UV rays, and plan your route to ensure you have access to shade or AC—just in case. And if you can, plan your runs for the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon.
On the other hand, if you're in a colder climate, it's always important to layer your clothing to stay warm and prevent frostbite. A hat, buff, and warm gloves should be a staple of any runner's winter gear. At the end of the day, no matter the weather, know your limits and don't risk your life.
3) Trees and Limbs - Extreme wind and water can cause trees limbs to fall on roads and sidewalks, so always be alert. A few years back, a 100 ft tree nearly fell on me and two others while out for a run. As we passed by the tree, I heard it begin to fall in our direction, and we literally sprinted to escape being hit as the tree slammed to the ground. It wasn't a windy day, but we had a giant rainstorm the night before that had weakened the roots of the aging tree.
4) Stay Visible – Wear reflective, brightly-colored clothing and/or LED lights to ensure you remain visible to everyone else on the road. This is particularly important at dusk or dawn, and especially at night. Being seen is the first step to staying safe.
5) Shoes Matter - Road shoes are made for—you guessed it—running on the road, and they can help you maintain the form necessary to avoid injuries. But those same shoes can cause you to fall when running on snow or wet, muddy trails. Trail shoes are your best bet for all off-road running, and you may even want to invest in some Yaktrax or snow shoes for conquering snowy elements.
6) Run Defensively – We are taught to drive defensively, but running defensively is just as important. Run facing the traffic, ideally on the sidewalk, as it gives you more time to react if a vehicle were to lose control. And never run in front of a vehicle at an intersection, even if you think they see you. Ideally, always run behind stopped vehicles, not in front.
7) Run with Others - Tell someone your plan. Ideally, join a running group if one is available in your area. As the age-old saying goes, there is safety in numbers. If someone ever tries to grab you, make your stand in public and fight back. You should probably consider carrying pepper spray if you are running alone. And of course, always wear your ROAD iD!
8) Trust Your Intuition - If you're uncomfortable about something ahead of you on the trail, turn around and run the other way. Move out to the street facing the traffic or cross the street altogether if you have to. I have ran in nearly half the countries on the planet and have turned around many times because of a bad feeling. Also, put some distance between yourself and blind spots so you can react, if needed.
9) Wild Animals and Dogs - Be aware of the dangers associated with where you're running. If there are venomous snakes in the area, keep an eye out and have an exit strategy in mind in case you were to be bit. As is true with most scenarios, it is best to remain calm. There are numerous other wild animals that could potentially pose a threat, and if you're visiting a new area or country, it is best to consult with the locals. Dogs can also be a threat. If they look dangerous it is best to turn around and reroute. Pepper spray can also be used to deter dogs.
10) Get an Annual Physical – Preventative care is invaluable. Follow up with your medical professional if you have any irregularities.
11) Carry a Cell Phone - But don't be distracted. If there is an emergency, you can call for help. Ideally, avoid the temptation to wear ear buds to prevent distraction.————
Harvey Lewis is a teacher and ultramarathon runner in Cincinnati, Ohio. He's currently attempting to run the Appalachian Trail faster than anyone in history and you can track his progress here. Harvey has competed in more than 50 ultramarathons over the past 20 years, specializing in races greater than 100 miles that range from extreme heat to extreme cold, and from mountainous to the roads. Recently, he won the 2017 24 Hour National Championship in which he ran 241 miles in 58 hours at Big's Backyard Ultra. He also takes people on running/hiking holidays with the company he founded, RunQuest Travel. He has ran in 89 countries and has a dream of exploring every country while running.
Follow along with Harvey on his many journeys at the links below.
Harvey is utilizing all kinds of nifty gear on his journey. He glides through the hills of Appalachia in his trusty Newtons, devouring copious amounts of Clif Bar for sustenance. He’s shielded from the elements by 2XU, with a body that’s finely tuned by the engineers at Structural Elements. And you know he’s rocking his ROAD iD for endless empowerment and peace of mind. You go, Harvey.BE LIKE HARVEY
Wanna help Harvey? Of course, you do! Send him words of encouragement on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #WheresHarvey. And while you’re at it, include a photo of yourself conquering your journey, whatever it may be. No matter how big or small, every journey is worthwhile.