Joseph McConaughy Smashes Pacific Crest Trail Speed Record


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A 23-year-old Seattle man has smashed the speed record for hiking the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail. Recent college grad Joe McConaughy crossed into Canada on Sunday, exactly 53 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes after leaving the Mexican border on the storied trail. McConaughy says he felt elation and disbelief at the finish of the 2,660 mile journey.

“I immediately broke down,” he recalled a few hours later. “I was switching between laughing and crying – thinking of all these incredible tales and trips we’d had day in, day out and all the pain.”

There is no official time keeper for long distance trail records. McConaughy had a support team and a satellite tracking beacon to verify his time. He says he ran the downhill and flat sections and generally hiked the uphills.

Even McConaughy sounds astonished by the pace he maintained. “I can’t believe that I averaged 50 whole miles a day over some of the toughest mountains in the West – the toughest mountains in the West,” he marveled.

The Seattle native shaved a full six days off the unofficial record time for a supported end-to-end Pacific Crest Trail hike. Santa Monica College track coach and exercise physiology instructor Josh Garrett – a vegan – held the previous record of 59 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes. Garrett set that mark last summer.

The long distance hiking fraternity recognizes a separate record for trekking border to border alone, without an accompanying support team. Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson of Bellingham, WA continues to own that record of 60 days, 17 hours.

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