Next month, 48-year-old ultrarunner Karl Meltzer will step onto the northernmost point of the Appalachian Trail and begin a 2,189-mile journey to break the thru-hike record for fastest time to traverse the entire trail.
The longest hiking-only footpath in the world has long been a bucket list favorite for many enthusiasts. But Meltzer is not trekking it simply for its beauty. He’s hoping to beat Scott Jurek’s record, who ran the whole trail in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes.
How does one prepare for such a feat? With 57 ultra-wins, seven marathon wins and 38 100-mile wins (world record) already under his belt, Meltzer is in pretty good shape. He will be looking to stay ahead of Jurek's pace as he averages 50 miles per day for the month-and-a-half he plans to be on the trail.
This will be Meltzer's third time running the Appalachian Trail, something he has described as, “not only man versus clock, but man versus nature…and man versus self.”
“I've always felt the AT is the toughest, most iconic trail in the U.S.,” he told Travel + Leisure. “I've been ultrarunning for 20 years, and feel the AT record could be a stamp on my career. It's such a beautiful trail and culture. It's technically difficult, which plays into my strength.”
Spectators will be able to follow along online as he attempts to break the record. Everything will be tracked: Meltzer’s steps, calories burned, average speed, heart rate, distance covered, distance remaining, elevation, and even the number of shoes he’s gone through.