Speedgoat Karl Meltzer #AT Appalachian Trail FKT – Day 42-44 Update

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Karl can’t smell the barn, he can see a glow from the flames long off in the distance and no matter which we you look at it, Speedgoat id 3 days from glory or glory. Yes, if he fails, he is glorious in defeat. If he succeeds, he is glorious in success.

The supported FKT currently belongs to Scott Jurek with a time of 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes.

Many thanks to Red Bull, Eric, Senior and Karl for the support.

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Day 42 North Carolina

The temperature has been heating up and the humidity is rising as Karl travels further into North Carolina, but it doesn’t seem to be impacting him too much. He’s maintaining his cool thanks to cold towels provided by Seni or at crew stops. Scott’s presence is helping Karl’s pace, but Scott has to leave after tomorrow for a day. He’ll be back soon to support Karl at the finish. The crew rested today along the border of the Great Smoky Mountains national Park. Tomorrow, Karl will be attempting to hike through the Smokies at the quickest pace possible without burning himself out. That is why today’s mileage will only be around 40 miles. Tomorrow will be one of the biggest challenges Karl has faced as he summits the tallest mountain on the AT.Knowing Speedboat, this big challenge shouldn’t be big at all.

Day 43 North Carolina

Karl entered Great Smoky Mountain National Park early this morning. This mountain range is the biggest challenge Karl has faced since the White Mountains in new Hampshire.

Also located in their mountain range is the tallest mountain on the AT, Clingman’s Dome, which Karl got through without any hiccups, and he and the crew even got to appreciate the beauty this part of the trail offers. Karl decided to camp on the trail again tonight. It didn’t go very well last time and the shelter Karl chose to stope at is a 20 mile hike from the road. Scott hiked in to take care of Karl for the night. Senior and Eric camped at the next day’s first crew stop to have a big hot breakfast waiting for Karl. Nearly knocking out the Smokies all in one day (55 miles today) is a huge deal and has put Karl in a good position for tomorrow to have a relatively easy day. Though as all previous Appalachian Trail FKT record holders would say, “there’s no easy day on the trail.”

Day 44 Smoky Mountain National Park

Karl exited the Smokies this morning and crossed over the iconic Fontana Dam. He disappeared as quickly as he appeared: he’s moving fast. Scott had to leave today but he will be back tomorrow to help crew Karl to the finish. His company on the trail has been greatly appreciated; the strong bond among the ultra community is at work here. Karl had ups and downs mentally throughout the day, but physically his body is holding up well. He’s consistently knocked out each crew stop on time, and that allowed him to finish the day with 46 miles before sundown. As he reaches the final days, every ounce of energy counts, every step is critical.

Right now Karl is roughly 130 miles from Springer Mountain.- the finish line of the Appalachian Trail. When he rolled into bed tonight he made the remark that he doesn’t “smell barn yet” but that is sure to change within the next 24 to 48 hours. It’s crunch time, and whether Karl wants to cut the record close or shatter it is completely in his hands. If his body stays healthy and his crew strong, odds are, Karl will be the next AT record holder. Only the next 48 hours will tell.

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Speedgoat Karl Meltzer #AT Appalachian Trail FKT – Day 15-21 Update

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Speedgoat Karl really is nailing the Appalachian Trail and like any multi-day journey of this magnitude he is having some high and lows. I am continually impressed by the level of determination and commitment both Karl and his crew are throwing at this. It’s mind blowing.

Each week we are providing 7-day updates. You can read days 1-7 HERE, days 8-14 HERE and on day 19 we caught up with Karl’s head crew member, eric, for a ‘live’ chat from the trail, listen to that HERE.

Many thanks to Red Bull for the support.

Day 15 Pittsfield, MA

It was a long but productive day for Karl. Karl left early on his route through Massachusetts. His first crew stop was in a busy and booming town near Pittsfield, MA. Karl made excellent timing all day and continues to keep on record pace. The terrain is less harsh at the moment and therefore faster. Daily mileages are around 40. The general atmosphere is great and attitudes are good. As Karl’s crew set up camp on Beartown Mountain road, trouble hit. Karl’s Spot Tracker signaled SOS outside a residential building. However, the crew could not receive the signal due to a lack of reception. The production crew had reception and headed out to find Karl, it was 9:30pm. It took sometime but the team eventually found Karl. Turns out that Karl ended up going to someone’s house where they offered him a jacket, a blanket and a floor to sleep on. Luckily there were no injuries and everyone was safe. It’s important to remember the trail is off the beaten track, even on the surrounding roads. From here on out, the crew is optimistic about tracking and pinpointing every crew location on the rest of the trail. It was a short night of rest. Even with the best technology, an experienced crew and dedicated athlete, there are no guarantees – anything can happen.

Day 16 Connecticut

It was a long night last night but Karl was up and at it again making his way through Connecticut and on to New York. Initially, Karl was tired, no surprise really! After about 10-minutes he started to feel a burst of energy and logged 48-miles, incredible! Karl as a positive attitude and the mishaps of day 15 are gone.

Day 17 Depot Hill Road, NY

The day began with the sun and as the team head south the climate is changing – hot and humid! It certainly makes running more difficult. Karl’s wife, Cheryl, had to leave again today. Dover Oak is the oldest tree on the AT and as Karl passed he said, ‘That’s a big tree!’ Beautiful and big it may well be but it’s next to a very busy and noisy road. It was a big day with 50 miles logged but Karl started to suffer from a sizeable blister. Unfortunately, this can happen with the heat, humidity and constant pounding. Karl is doing a great job of managing the pain. It was an early bed despite a big mileage day. Karl had a new crew member join today. Mike arrived 1030pm and not only will he crew, he will also join Karl on the trail.

Day 18 Bear Mountain State Park, NY

55 miles today, how does he do it? Karl ran through Bear Mountain State Park which is on the west side of the Hudson River in NY. It was a hot day and will only get hotter. Sadly, Karl’s dad had to leave the crew today and head home, so the crew is Eric and Mike.

Day 19 New York and New Jersey

Karl had a friend join him today, Lou. A fellow ultra-runner, Lou laced up his shoes and joined Speedgoat from midday. Makes a big difference to have someone to talk too and help pace. The weather continues to be hot and the afternoons have had rainfall. The rain is great for keeping Karl cool but not great for the feet. This area has lots of small mountains and is full of expansive farmland. The trail changes from boardwalks to flat land, to paths through farming fields and ultimately to the famous root filled green tunnel.

Day 20 New Jersey/ Pennsylvania Border

Today was a rough day… Lou only spent a day on the AT and that means it’s down to Eric and Mike to crew. Karl had pain in his shins which caused problems for running. The pain also took a mental toll. Mike joined Speedgoat on the trail for about 8-miles to help him along. Mike mentioned how Karl’s knee was buckling during the run, no doubt due to the pain. Karl is seriously tough… few people could withstand this! The crew iced his legs longer than usual and tended to both his shins and knees. A wrap around his ankle will hopefully help tomorrow! It was a low mileage day and that will surely play on Karl’s mind – he intended for 50-miles but covered 35. This journey is about so many elements coming together, it is a huge undertaking for both Karl and crew. Knowing when to push and when to hold back may well be the key to success. One wrong decision and it could all be over.

Day 21 Pennsylvania

Heading south through Pennsylvania, Karl had an early start! Despite a swollen shin, Karl felt good and the day just clicked and the miles passed smoothly. Amazing how one day can be so different to another day. The terrain was a mix of small rocks mixed with tree roots. Many of the larger rocks require a bit of climbing, as if bouldering. When Karl reached the planned stopping point he insisted on pushing on… Karl want this record! He continued into the night. It was a rough section of trail but Karl got it done. It was a huge boost and after 17-hours on the trail, Karl called it a day.

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Current stats show Karl on day 24 with 1042.3 miles covered and 1147.7 to go.