42 days in, and with 2000 miles under his belt, Scott Jurek is on track to challenge Jennifer Pharr Davis’ long-standing record of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes for the epic Appalachian Trail (‘AT’ for short) which extends 3,500 km along the eastern United States, starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and and passing through North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and finishing at Mt Katahdin in Maine.
Prior to 2011, the record was held by men who generally belonged to an elite club of ultra runners, who ran 30-50 miles per day in an 11-13 hour period. It was generally thought that any record breaker would be male and would just run faster. However, Jennifer turned this preconception on its head and broke the record by hiking – not running – 16 hours a day.
Scott is no stranger to endurance sports, having won many of the world’s iconic Ultramarathons – the Hardrock 100, Spartathlon, Badwater 135, and Western States for an impressive seven years in a row. Running has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few years, during which Scott rose to fame with his new book ‘Eat and Run’, which gives an insight into his Vegan lifestyle.
Now, with only a few days to go, Scott is focused on reaching Mt Katahdin, at the end of the trail, by Sunday 5.15pm, and Jennifer is waiting for the call. Rumour has it, she is ready to take Scott out for a Vegan meal if he breaks the record. If he doesn’t, it’ll be a BBQ ;-)
If you want to see what a 3,500km hike can do to your body – check out the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics: