Already an ultra running legend, Scott Jurek just made history by becoming the fastest person to finish the famed and gruelling Appalachian Train in the US. Jurek crossed over Mount Katahdin in Maine to complete the unbelievable 3500-plus km (2,189 miles) journey in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes, breaking the previous record by just more than three hours.
Jurek started the record run at Springer Mountain in Georgia, on May 27 and averaged nearly 80km (50 miles) a day, crossing over 14 US states, and traversing a scarcely believable 5,15,000 feet of elevation change.The 41-year-old has hinted that he would be taking a break after this epic run to spend some time with his wife.
Among Jurek’s many achievements are seven consecutive Western States Endurance Run wins, two Badwater Ultramarathon wins and a Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance run victory. He’s well known as the vegan endurance athlete, and his series Eat and Run describes running on a highly customised diet.
To put his record in perspective, regular people take an average of five to seven months to finish the trail. Only 729 people out of a possible 2,500 successfully finished the trail last year. And despite falling short of his planned target time of 42 days, Jurek managed to beat the record time by less than 3 hours, set by hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis in 2011.
Mark Godale, one of Jurek’s crew members during the run, is quoted as saying in Outside Magazine, “It’s tough to tell a friend to keep moving forward when he is suffering… For me it was one of my greatest experiences in ultrarunnning. The trail kicked our ass, step after step.”
Runner’s World reports that Jurek may have to relinquish his record to friend and fellow elite ultramarathoner Karl Meltzer who is already planning his a record attempt after being part of Jurek’s crew for more than a week in June.
Main image: Ben Keller | Dubious Honor Productions