Karl Meltzer known as ‘Speedgoat Karl‘ Is one of the world’s best in endurance mountain running. He has won more 100-mile races than anyone! A regular co-host on Talk Ultra podcast, Karl has lived the highs and lows of the Appalachian Trail.
As a native of New Hampshire, trail running and hiking have always been a part of Karl’s life.
Growing up, Karl spent many days adventuring on the Appalachian Trail with his father.
He has always been partial to running his home course, which he often refers to as the ‘Green Tunnel’ due to the rich tree canopy.
Karl completed the ‘AT’ in 2008 in 54-days after continuing with severe tendinitis. He knew then that he could cover the 2190-mile journey quicker. He returned but failed. Last year, Speedgoat’s good friend Scott Jurek set a new record and for 14-days of that journey, Speedgoat was side-by-side with his friend telling him how to get the job done.
Fired up by helping Scott, Karl is back and with the full on support of Red Bull, Speedgoat hopes to set a new FKT for the AT in under 50-days. To add to the experience, Scott and Jenny Jurek plan to return the favour by joining him in the later stages. You can read about Scott’s incredible ‘AT’ HERE.
Each week I will post a 7-day update of Speedgoat’s journey and of course, you can follow online and in real time with the help of Red Bull and the official website HERE.
Day 1 Mt. Katahdin, ME
Day one started early from Mount Katahdin and Karl was ready to go. He pounded out the first leg of the journey with unbelievable timing, surprising our crew by arriving two hours early off a near 10-mile stretch. Karl had his first bumps and bruises as well, falling twice on the rocky mountain trail but he still finished three hours ahead of schedule. As expected, Karl was exhausted by the end of the day and in bed asap after eating some pasta! It’s a 4am start for day two.
Day 2 Maine
Karl’s spirits were high after dominating day one. He spent the morning smiling and making jokes with our crew. He has been early at every stop since the beginning of the attempt and was very optimistic for the day. The day continued smoothly until the second last stop where Karl mentioned his neck was bothering him. Our crew had some adventures of their own the truck got stuck trying to access the final check-in location on the gnarly backcountry roads. Overall a d successful start.
Day 3 Kennebec River, ME
Karl is happy! Well, as happy as a man can be for running 50+ miles a day. He decided to go ahead and run an extra 12 0r so miles to the Kennebec River to catch the River Ferry (canoe) across the App Trail river crossing. Hikers are advised to take the ferry in order to avoid the dangerous currents and for Karl, dry feet is crucial.
Day 4 Kennebec River, ME
The optimism continued for a third consecutive morning and Karl livened up the 4:45am wake up call making jokes with the crew while drinking coffee. He started on the other side of the Kennebec River around 6:15am, three hours ahead of the planned schedule. Mother nature was Karl’s friend today and he cooled off thanks to some rain. He concluded the day ahead of schedule again. More rest = better performance and Karl was in bed early.
Day 5 Maine
A smooth day! However, the weather was less smooth. Heavy rainstorms and showers caused Karl to arrive right on schedule; a first since starting! Karl senior (Karl’s dad) greeted him at the finish and even hiked the last mile. The biggest highlight of the day was the arrival of Karl’s wife, Cheryl. Currently Karl is in the Maine wilderness near the Canadian border. The last stretch of the day was the most intense part of the route yet and it will become more intense as the days pass.
Day 6 Grafton Notch, Maine
After a cold and wet night, Karl started day 6. The terrain for the next few days will be extremely rough as Karl has to climb his way up the mountains. His timing was on schedule and he continues to hit his marked destinations as per the plan. Tomorrow, the ‘toughest mile’ on the AT awaits!
Day 7 Gotham, New Hampshire
No rain today but the trail is becoming increasingly rockier. This section is one of the most technical sections of the AT as a combination of bouldering and hiking is required. It’s August and some ice is till on the ground. The trek through Mahoosuc Notch and Success Mt is intense and in particular, Mahoosuc Notch is known as the ‘toughest mile’ on the AT. On Karl’s last attempt (which he failed) his crew missed to feed stations on this day, not this year! It’s a huge boost for Karl to see everything clicking into place but also it’s super important he gets those vital calories. Karl is motoring and in great spirits.
About the AT:
The 2190 mile Appalachian Trail has been the pinnacle of American hiking for over 90-years. The first section of the trail was opened on October 7th 1923 in Bear Mountain, NY and Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) was founded in 1925.
Much progress was made throughout the early 1930’s as trails were blazed in West Virginia, Virginia and Connecticut. Stretching from Maine to Georgia, the trail goes through 14 states.
Earl Shaffer was the first through hiker who completed without the aid of a tent, sleeping matt or stove, he chose to leave them behind due to the weight! At the time, nobody knew of Shaffer’s hike and the ‘Appalachian Trailway News’ published an article titled, ’10 Reasons Why Nobody Will Ever Complete The Entire Trail’ – Shaffer proved them wrong in 124 days on August 6th 1948.
Karl will aim to complete the trail in 46-days!
All content http://atrun.redbull.com/karl-meltzer-mobile/p/1