The older I get, the crazier the idea sounds.
Running a marathon is a tough task, for sure. But running a marathon in the woods enters a whole new realm.
If you're looking to take advantage of the beautiful weather this week and plan to head into the woods to do a bit of hiking on Saturday, you may have some company. But these sweaty, tired and oh-so-eager travelers won't stay around for long.
They've got lots of miles ahead of them and precious few hours to get to their destination.
Saturday is the Keystone Trails Association's Super Hike and Ultra Trail Run. Even the name of the event makes us mere mortals tired. The thought of tackling the 28.4-mile woodland route is daunting.
Super hikers with the guts to tackle the marathon-and-then-some trail start their journey at Otter Creek Campground along Route 425 in southern York County. For the most part, they will follow the famed Mason Dixon Trail south as it meanders up and down the steep banks of the Susquehanna River.
Once they reach the towering Norman Wood Bridge, the tough-footed athletes will cross the river and head back north along the scenic, and hilly, Conestoga Trail. They'll aim for the finish line at the Pequea Creek Campground.
The event's organizers put a time limit of 12 hours on the hike for safety reasons, but judging by the score sheet, few hikers need that much time. Last year's fastest feet made the trek in just more than five hours.
And don't think it was some rambunctious teenager leading the group. Last year's winner, Joshua Jamison of York, was 34 years old. The youngest hiker to reach the finish line in 2012 was 16. And, get this, the oldest finisher was 78.
Although the event is timed and some folks are in quite a hurry to get to the finish line, the organizers of the event say the Super Hike isn't about winning. It's about completing a "supremely challenging" hike. It is the ultimate test of physical and mental toughness.
Beyond the pride that comes with successfully traversing some of the area's most challenging terrain, the hike offers another treat -- a full day of time spent outdoors sharing Mother Nature's late-summer beauty with other like-minded folks.
While registration for the event is closed, you can certainly hit the trail to cheer on the super-hikers. As we unofficially put the summer of 2013 behind us, this is a great opportunity to get outside and get a last look at Penn's Woods before the autumn transformation kicks into high gear.
My guess is the super-hikers will need all the support they can get.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@york dispatch.com.