Jurek beats Davis’ Appalachian Trail record by mere hours

Scott Jurek, renowned champion long distance runner, today broke the Appalachian Trail (AT) speed record previously set by Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, NC in 2011 by just three hours. The difference, over the 2,189-mile AT, was akin to a photo finish.

Jurek climbed Mt. Katahdin in Maine on Sunday, July 12, 2015, the 47th day after he started at Springer Mountain, Georgia. To accomplish the feat, Jurek had to average more than 46 miles per day for six and a half weeks. Jurek’s, and Davis’, accomplishments will always be considered among the greatest feats in all of endurance sport.

This is not the only record on the trail however. And purists will have their quibbles. The gold standard for many hardcore hikers is Matt Kirk, who set the unsupported record (meaning he arranged all resupply logistics beforehand in true thru-hiker style) at 58 days, nine hours and 40 minutes from Maine to Georgia in 2013.

And it’s an odd thing to set out for a record on this trail, where community is such an important part of thru-hikers’ identities—much like spiritual practitioners, they find their unique trail name while on route and often share miles on the pilgrimage with strangers—and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy refuses to recognize any records on the trail.

But it is a sense of a higher purpose, something beyond simply hiking and record-setting that has rallied so many around Jurek as he approached his goal.

Read more about Jurek and his effort…

More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

 

Update: Jurek breaks Asheville runner’s 4-year AT speed record

 

Update: Jennifer Pharr Davis reaction:

“The effects of such an endeavor cannot be ranked or expressed in numbers. My greatest reward that summer was not the record. The lasting results I cherish the most are a deeper love for my husband, an increased appreciation for my support network, and a better understanding of the sacrifice it takes to accomplish something very difficult. And, like every hike, I finished the journey with a deeper sense of awe for the spirit and significance of the wilderness, and a stronger desire to give back to the trail community.”

“I want a lifelong relationship with the trail. I want to get as many people out on the trail as possible – especially women and children. And I want to be able to give back through service, financial donations, and trail maintenance projects. I am starting to realize that a true legacy is not so much about performing when the whole world is watching, as it is a dedication to your cause when no one is watching.”

My words to Scott are, “Congratulations. Cherish the experience and hold the record lightly.”

 

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