ANF ​​hike in memory of the founder of the event | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo provided to The Times Observer Two of the 2021 A-100 100-mile finishers, Dave Salvatore and Scott Newton.


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In June, nearly 200 people will tackle some — or all — of the 100 miles of the North Country Trail through the Allegheny National Forest as part of the annual Allegheny 100 hiking challenge.

The 2022 edition of the event, also known as A-100 and organized by the ANF Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, will be dedicated to the hiker who came up with the idea.

A hiker on the Appalachian Trail himself, Bert Nemcik saw the popularity of the Leadville 100 ultramarathon in Colorado. This gave birth to an idea.

Photo provided to The Times Observer The first Allegheny 100 hiking challenge took place in June 2010 with 19 participants, pictured here. The event was conceived by one of the founding members of the ANF Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, Bert Nemcik. Nemick, middle row on the far left, died in December and this year’s version of the A-100 is dedicated to his memory.

“Bert was a founding member of the chapter,” Tina Toole, current chapter president, said. “When I joined the chapter in 2008, he was actively involved in trail maintenance and involved in decision making for the chapter. I have always looked to Bert as a mentor.

Nemcik’s idea turned into A-100.

“Bert felt the event would do several things. First, it would gain visibility and recognition for this beautiful trail,” Toole said. “Second, he felt that if only one in 100 participants volunteered to help maintain the trail, it would be worth it. Finally, more hikers on the trail would compact the trail into a larger, more durable surface.

Toole credits Nemcik as the person who taught him the most about trail work.

“He was also a source of information about hiking, imparting a lot of wisdom on long-distance hiking and backpacking,” she says.

Nemcik helped coordinate the event for the first few years of its existence.

“Although Bert then left the state, he would return every few years to hike the A-100 and connect with the A-100 hiking community,” Toole said.

He died in December and this year’s A-100, scheduled for June 10-12, is dedicated to him.

“He urged people to ‘do their own trek’ to complete their chosen challenge; set your own pace and rest if necessary,” Toole said.

This is part of the A-100’s unique character.

Unlike Leadville, the A-100 is not a race but rather an individual challenge that will test the stamina, determination and resilience of those who take it on.

“Hikers can choose to hike 100 miles, 75 miles, 50 miles, or 25 miles in 50 hours,” Toole said.

“This challenge is for anyone, regardless of skill level, who wants to test themselves on the track.”

This is an unassisted hike which means there is no first aid or water points. Hikers should be prepared to carry their gear as well as necessary food and water.

This year the route will run north to south, starting at the Pa. Route 346 trailhead near Willow Bay and ending at the Pa. Route 66 trailhead south of Marienville.

A total of 19 people took part in the first event in 2010. The size of the field will fluctuate between 180 and 200 this year.

“We were surprised at the rapid growth of the event”, Toole said. “I think it speaks to the beauty of our forest and the intriguing nature of this challenge.”

More than half of participants sign up to run the 100 miles each year, although Toole said only about 20% of those people complete the entire course.

It’s not just the miles that are the challenge, it’s the vertical – there’s 16,822 feet of gain in those 100 miles.

“Many hikers have tried to hit their mileage goal multiple times before they hit it,” Toole said. “Others started with the lower mileage amounts and worked their way up. The event also formed its own community and the riders were excited to meet each year.

This popularity means that the chapter must now organize a lottery to allocate the available places. Participation in the lottery will open on March 7.

Those entering will receive a shuttle service to the start from their target arrival point.

Details, FAQs and lottery information can be found on the Allegheny 100 Challenge event webpage at and anyone with questions can email -email [email protected]

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Joseph K. Bennett