Karl Meltzer and Crew Chief Eric Belz ~ Photo by Carl Rosen / Red Bull Content Pool
Congratulations to ultramarathoner Karl Meltzer (aka “Speedgoat”) for breaking the fastest known time (FKT) for an assisted thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Having the previous record holder, Scott Jurek, help Speedgoat in the final miles to Springer Mountain on Sunday, September 18, 2016, was especially classy.
Speedgoat routinely met his crew every 10-15 miles for food, supplies, medical care and encouragement.
Honchos at Red Bull, the most prominent sponsor of the event, must be insanely frustrated that virtually every story about Karl Meltzer’s 45-day, 22-hour and 38-minute trek mentions how he was fueled by beer, not Red Bull. Thanks for helping foot the reported $100,000+ bill, Red Bull. When things calm down, maybe Speedgoat will buy you a beer.
Yes, Karl arose around 4 AM every day. He left camp around 4:30 AM and ran or walked (mostly walked, if my research is correct) until dark, eating along the way. His team carried much of the weight to sustain Karl, ridding the runner of the normal items of: sleeping system, tent, extra clothes. Our hero wore his pack around his waist and carried bacon, pieces of steak, chicken and toilet paper. That’s a sharp contrast to Jurek’s uber-vegan menu last year. Meltzer’s evening meals were prepared for him by his faithful companions, led by Eric Belz. After dinner and “a beer or two,” Karl slept in the team van, with the help of Advil PM. (Sorry, Red Bull.)