© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ultramarathoner Finishes The Appalachian Trail In Record Time

Maine's Mount Katahdin is the northern end of the Appalachian Trail.
Beth J. Harpaz
Maine's Mount Katahdin is the northern end of the Appalachian Trail.

2,189 miles in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes.

That's how long it took for Scott Jurek to complete the Appalachian Trail, setting a new record for the fastest known finish. He left Springer Mountain, Ga., at 5:56 a.m. ET on May 27 and ended at the top of Maine's Mount Katahdin at 2:03 p.m. on Sunday, according to Runner's World.

The 41-year-old ultramarathoner averaged almost 50 miles a day.

"During his journey, Jurek experienced a knee injury on Day 7, stifling heat and humidity in the mid-Atlantic states, the rainiest June in Vermont in 130 years, and challenging footing and steep climbs and descents in New Hampshire and Maine," iRunFar.com writes.

To be clear, there are no "official" records kept of who has hiked the trail the fastest. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says it's all based on the honor system — hikers can fill out and submit a form saying they've completed the trail. And Runner's World notes that "if you are going to attempt the trail's supported thru-hike speed record, you need to let the current record holder know."

So Jurek called Jennifer Pharr Davis, the previous unofficial record holder for the fastest supported thru-hike. She told the magazine, "I was actually on the Appalachian Trail when he called, but he left a very nice message."

Jurek broke Davis' 2011 record by about three hours.

National Geographic has more on Jurek's background:

"Jurek's resume includes seven consecutive victories from 1999-2005 in the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, two wins at the Badwater 135 setting a then course record, three consecutive victories at the 153-mile Spartathalon from 2006-2008, and three first place finishes in the Miwok 100. In 2010 he set the American record for most miles run in 24 hours at 165.7. His professional career had slowed down recently, but he intended for the Appalachian Trail speed record to be his 'masterpiece,' as he called it, the ultimate finale to an incredible career."

Jurek posted photos on Instagram throughout his journey. Here are a few highlights:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: July 14, 2015 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this post incorrectly referred to The Appalachian Trail Conservancy as The Appalachian Trail Conservation.