Runner Scott Jurek Seeks Appalachian Trail Speed Record

Appalachian Trail Day 1 in the books! Departed Springer Mountain at 5:56am EDT, arrived at Unicoi Gap, 13:16:42 elapsed time. 52.9 miles, 11,400' ascent and 12,100' descent. Lots of fog and a little light rain early, then sun and mega humidity. Finding my groove and feeling good. Patience is key, it's a long way to Maine! Hoping to have live tracking tomorrow. Photo: by @luisescobar, dropping into Unicoi Gap, 52.9 miles

Appalachian Trail Day 1 in the books! Departed Springer Mountain at 5:56am EDT, arrived at Unicoi Gap, 13:16:42 elapsed time. 52.9 miles, 11,400' ascent and 12,100' descent. Lots of fog and a little light rain early, then sun and mega humidity. Finding my groove and feeling good. Patience is key, it's a long way to Maine! Hoping to have live tracking tomorrow.
Photo: by @luisescobar, dropping into Unicoi Gap, 52.9 miles

Pffft. Scott Jurek ran 165.7 miles in one day. Big deal. I can do that in my sleep.

The difference, of course, is I can only dream of running 6.5 marathons in 24-hours. Scott Jurek actually did that in 2010 and set a new "US All-Surface" record time and earned the honor of USA Today's Athlete of the Week.

So, what does a person who has attained such accomplishments as these do next?

  • United States record for 24-hour distance on all surfaces (165.7 Miles/266.01 Kilometers)
  • Won the Spartathlon 152-mile (245km) race from Athens to Sparta, Greece three consecutive times (2006-2008)
  • Won the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run, and held the record time for one year until Kyle Skaggs set a new record in 2008
  • Won the Western States Endurance Run seven consecutive times (1999-2005), and held the record time (15:36:27 in 2004) until 2010
  • Won the Badwater Ultramarathon twice (2005, 2006), and held the course record for two years (2005)
  • Finished first three times (2002-2004) and second three times (2001, 2005, 2006) in the Miwok 100K Trail Race
  • Won the Leona Divide 50 Mile Run four times (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)
  • Won the Diez Vista 50K Trail Run twice (2000, 2003)
  • Won the montrail Ultra Cup series twice (2000, 2003)
  • Selected as UltraRunning Magazine's North American Male Ultrarunner of the Year in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007
No views today atop Wayah Bald, 5,342' but beautiful morning on the trail in North Carolina. 16 miles into today's journey, 10am EDT. ~ Courtesy of Scott Jurek's Facebook page

No views today (5-29-15) atop Wayah Bald, 5,342' but beautiful morning on the trail in North Carolina. 16 miles into today's journey, 10am EDT. ~ Courtesy of Scott Jurek's Facebook page

Attempt to break our pal Jennifer Pharr Davis's record speed hike of the Appalachian Trail!

Scott seeks to thru-hike the AT in 42 days, with help from his support team.

For a bit of comparison, if you average 12-miles daily, hiking from Georgia to Maine will take roughly 182-days. Can Scott go four times faster ... for more than 40-days?

In an interview with Runner's World regarding his speed-hike attempt, Scott Jurek said, "I am at the perfect point in my career and this has been on my bucket list for a while. This is the summer before my wife and I want to have kids so I am pretty close to my retirement. I would say this is going to be my masterpiece."

Jennifer set her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail record of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes -- averaging 47-miles daily -- finishing on July 31, 2011.

These are two classy athletes and nice people. Jennifer posted a message on her Facebook page with this kind comment from Scott Jurek:

We received a very thoughtful voicemail from @Scott Jurek over the weekend announcing his run on the AT. He is a gracious guy and graceful athlete. Just hope he doesn't make it look too easy ; )

My guess is Scott can break the record. That doesn't mean he will, but it would be hard to believe that this feat is beyond his abilities. He is an amazing man and well-known for being a vegetarian among vegetarians, as his profile on Wikipedia attests:

Jurek is an advocate of plant-based eating for health and ethical/environmental reasons, and he cites his diet as the key to his superior athletic performance and recovery. He quit eating meat in 1997 and became vegan in 1999, motivated by the belief that poor nutrition was responsible for the chronic illnesses he saw in his family and in his physical therapy patients.

We'll keep you posted on Scott's progress. Jennifer will always be one of our favorite citizens of the Appalachian Trail no matter what, but we wish Scott well in all his endeavors.

Our pal, Jennifer Pharr David

Our pal, Jennifer Pharr Davis

Click Here for Scott Jurek on Facebook

Click Here to Follow the Appalachian Trail Blog of Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek's Bio & Personal Best Times


Tags: Attractions, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, and Hikers

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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