Ultrarunner Tries to Break Appalachian Trail Record

The Appalachian Trail stretches 2,100 miles from Mt. Katahdin, Maine, to Springer Mountain, Georgia. Those intrepid adventurers who attempt to complete the entire trail in one stretch often complete their journeys in about half a year.

In 2015, Scott Jurek finished it in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes, which was a record for a through-hike. Now, Jurek’s friend and fellow runner Karl Meltzer will attempt to best his time.

Meltzer has previous experience on the trail, as he completed it in 2008 in 54 days. Another attempt in 2014 ended after he completed 1,500 miles. He hopes that his third try will result in success.

In order to meet his goals, he’ll have to run nearly 50 miles each day while climbing up and down rocky trails, traversing slippery rocks, and making his way through dense woods. Because Meltzer will depart from the northern terminus of the trail in early August, he’ll be able to avoid freezing conditions, but he will likely encounter rain and hot and humid weather as he heads south.

As part of his preparations, Meltzer has assembled a team of people who are ready to support him. They’ll get organized so that they can meet him at different points along the way, making sure he’s fed, hydrated, and healthy. Seltzer has also been out training on various sections of the trail so that he’s completely comfortable with the terrain and the elements that he’ll face.

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