Speedgoat Karl Meltzer #AT Appalachian Trail FKT – Day 29-35 Update

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Eric and  ‘Senior’ are keeping Karl on track. It’s a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and at times it has looked a little stressful but as I have said all along, Speedgoat has gone into this AT attempt with a complete understanding of what needs to be done… He learned this in 2015 when crewing Scott and he witnessed it in the latter stages when Scott pushed on and on relentlessly. As I write this, Karl is through day 38 with 1761-miles covered and 428-miles to go. Karl would say to me, “I can smell the barn!” And yes, a very feint smell of the barn may well fill Speedgoat’s nostrils but he has got some seriously long and hard days ahead. In the true sprit of the sport, Scott Jurek and Jenny Jurek have now joined Karl on the trail and they will help push through and hopefully all Speedgoat to achieve his dream. We have an epic couple of weeks ahead!

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

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karl-sleeping

Day 29 Virginia

This morning Karl and crew woke up amongst white-tailed deer. This 107-mile stretch of trail through Shenandoah truly is beautiful. Karl’s progress is going well and the shin that was bothering him is now taped and feeling much better. Pain free, Karl can pick up the pace and today he logged 50.4 miles. The routine is run/jog/ hike, stop, ice, eat, sleep and repeat. The AT is not easy but today was a good day!

Day 30 Virginia 

Karl exited the Shenandoah National Park today after a little more than two days. Karl’s foot blisters are flaring up a little but he is still pushing. Some new lunch options are helping keep spirits up with Karl trading in his PB&J for pork sliders. tonight the crew planned to stop at 1800 but Karl felt strong and insisted that he kept going… He covered another 11 miles and racked up 60 miles. Yes, 60 miles. Karl is killing it and whether he sets the record or not I personally and blown away by his tenacity. Rest is key but Karl didn’t hit the sack till midnight.

Day 31 Virginia

A busy day on the Blue Ridge Parkway section and Karl was extremely fatigued. Sometimes you need to know when not to push on and those extra 11 miles the previous day may well have been 11 miles too far! He was sluggish but still smiling though. At midday, Karl came off the trail limping. The blister under his foot had filled with fluid and he couldn’t apply any pressure. The crew jumped into action, drained the blister, bandaged Karl up and he continued on at jogging pace. Karl crossed the James River Footbridge which is an iconic and beautiful spot on the Appalachian Trail. Karl ate two steaks for dinner and then went to bed.

Day 32 Virginia

Karl is holding up well considering the fatigue, he also hopes that the bottom of his foot stays dry so the blister can heal. Health is as important as fitness and success on the AT can really come down to the small things. Karl slept on the trail tonight at Scorched Earth Gap. Today Karl did an astonishing 57 miles…

Day 33 Virginia

Bedding down on the trail last night was almost a fatal decision for Karl’s AT attempt. Karl and crew could have pushed on for 4 miles and had the comfort of the van, instead Karl just crashed on the trail… he had a bad night’s sleep. Desperate and drained, Karl stopped mid trail in the morning and sept. His crew found him, face down, sleeping in the dirt. They pushed him on to McAfee Knob where the van had stopped. For three hours Karl slept, it was needed! But Karl woke up and disappeared without saying a word. The crew met him at the next stop and a pint of ice cream worked wonders. Two minutes later, the pint was gone and Karl was off. Karl’s friend Dave, met him on the trail later in the day with some fried chicken and the reassuring words of, ‘you can do this, the question is, do you have the grit?’ – I think we all know the answer. Karl is digging deeper than he ever has with a real understanding of what needs to be done. After two more sections. Karl stopped. He insisted he couldn’t go any further without getting more sleep – everyone agreed! It was a 23-mile day and just goes to show how tough and challenging the AT is. It was a real low day on the AT for Karl.

Day 34 Virginia

Karl woke up rested today from a long night’s sleep/ He started off charging hard. Have no doubts, Karl knows exactly what needs to be done on a daily basis to beat this AT record and he has the blinkers on… In all honesty, he had the blinkers on right from day one. The AT has thrown its ups and downs – what else would one expect from the AT. Karl bounced back today with a 50+ day. Karl was jogging a great deal more today because the terrain is pretty slick. There are hills here but nothing drastic. Karl has a tight gap to beat the AT record and he attributes his motivation to his wife, Cheryl. Karl is optimistic though and he has 12-days to push. Karl pushed on for an additional 16-miles today with Cheryl by his side. When they finished, Eric had pasta waiting. From here on in it’s 50 miles a day for Speedgoat to beat the record… Pretty sure the arrival of Scott and Jenny Jurek will help!

Day 35 Virginia

Karl woke up tired, it was tough to get going but the routine clicked as the morning wore on. Terrain has some rocks and is mountainous but not as severe as Pennsylvania. The miles are beginning to even out and Karl is in good spirits, that is really important as what lies ahead is tough. A variety of food keeps rolling along and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a hit. It was a 49.2-mile day and Speedgoat is on track for the record.
horton-jurek-meltzer

Image ©karlmeltzer

The arrival of Scott Jurek and David Horton no doubt is a super motivation for Karl. Scott (and Jenny) now plan to return the favour Karl gave in 2015 to Scott’s successful record. David has had to return back to work but with this crew and Scott pushing, the chances of getting the record is increasing despite the tough and challenging target of 50 miles a day. Like I said, Karl knows what he has to do!

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Episode 95 – Scott and Jenny Jurek #AT Appalachian Trail Special

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Episode 95 of Talk Ultra is a completely different show. We are devoting the episode to Scott Jurek and his wife Jenny. Scott Jurek completed the Appalachian Trail on July 12th covering the 2189-miles in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. It was a journey of incredible highs and lows, not only for Scott but also for Jenny. In this show we hear from both Scott and Jenny and and provide an insight into what it’s like to run and crew for such an epic and awesome journey… enjoy!

Show links:

Website – talkultra.com
Here is a blow-by-blow account of Scott’s incredible journey in words and pictures of his record breaking Appalachian Trail FKT (HERE)

©iancorless.com.Scott Jurek

A creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person’s career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill, or workmanship.

Scott Jurek called it his masterpiece and rightly so. We can all now look back at his incredible 2200 mile journey along the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine and acknowledge what he has achieved. Jennifer Pharr Davis had set the benchmark in 2011 in a time of  46 days 11 hours and 20 minutes for a supported thru hike. The speed hike record, unsupported is held by Mathew Kirk in a time of 58 days 9 hours and 40 minutes.

Scott Jurek completed the AT on July 12th 2015 in a time of:

46 days 8 hours 7 minutes

Undertaking the AT is a serious business. The demands that are placed on all involved are huge, you only need to ask Karl Meltzer what is required and he will tell you. It’s a beast and one that mustn’t be rushed in to. (Listen Karl’s in-depth chat on Scott and the AT on Ep90 HERE of Talk Ultra)

Months if not years of preparation go into a record so it came as a surprise when Scott Jurek announced on May 27th:

Embarking on a big adventure tomorrow, something I’ve always wanted to do. The time is now!

What has followed is an incredible journey. I encourage you to read my post HERE before continuing on.

What is the AT?

*The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 km)[a] long, though the precise length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. The trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The path is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Others have managed to perform a “round-trip” of the trail where they thru-hike from one end to the other and then turn around to thru-hike the trail the other way, otherwise known as a “yo-yo.” Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to these pursuits.

An unofficial extension known as the International Appalachian Trail continues north into Canada and to the end of the range, where it enters the Atlantic Ocean. Other unofficial extensions head south into Florida, creating what is known as the Eastern Continental Trail.

The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail form what is known as the Triple Crown of long–distance hiking in the United States.*

                         *content ©wikipedia

Below is a bow-by-blow account of Scott’s AT record as posted on his Facebook page in words and images. I don’t need to say more. What Scott has achieved is quite incredible. Bravo!

ALL CONTENT BELOW IS ©SCOTTJUREK AND ©LUISESCOBAR #SJAT15

May 28th

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 1 in the books! Departed Springer Mountain at 5:56am EDT, arrived at Unicoi Gap, 13:16:42 elapsed time. 52.9 miles, 11,400′ ascent and 12,100′ descent. Lots of fog and a little light rain early, then sun and mega humidity. Finding my groove and feeling good. Patience is key; it’s a long way to Maine! Hoping to have live tracking tomorrow.

May 29th

May 29th

Appalachian Trail Day 2 check! Departed Unicoi Gap at 5:49am EDT, arrived at Rock Gap, at 7:14pm EDT, 13:25:28. 53.0 miles, 12,942′ ascent and 12,230′ descent.

May 30th

May 30th

Going into the sunset hours tonight. After lots of rain today and a stiff dose of North Carolina Gnarl—aka long climbs and burly descents— this sunset on Bushnell Knob, 3,697′ is a welcome relief. 8:30pm, 48 miles in and 4 more to go!

May 31st

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 4: Service was limited in Smokies and another long day on the trail. These mountains are making me earn it! Departed Yellow Creek Gap at 5:49am EDT, arrived at Newfound Gap, at 9:20pm EDT, 15:29:22. 48.5 miles (Garmin had 50.6), 13,694′ ascent and 11,702′ descent. Entered another state, Tennessee and did 40 miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Had rough 4 hours midday and was so sleepy. It’s been hard sleeping at night due to fatigue in the legs. Took a 20-minute nap near Spence Field Shelter and came back to life. Got up the observatory tower for 360-degree views of the Smokies. Very impressed with the mountains here!

June 1st

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 5 update: Started the day with old and new friends at Newfound Gap at 6:49am EDT, arrived at Lemon Gap at 11:04pm EDT, 16:15:59. 52.7 miles, 11,627′ ascent and 11,702′ descent. Enjoyed seeing the rest of the Smokies and got a good dose of thunderstorms well into the night. No cell reception from Lemon Gap, hence the delay. Hoping I can end a little earlier tonight to catch up on some sleep!

June 2nd and 3rd

Appalachian Trail Days 6 & 7: Got my first real shower today instead of sponge baths at the van all week. Covered over 300 miles in 6 days, the most I have ever done in a week and feeling some effects. Monday morning departed Lemon Gap at 5:53am EDT, arrived at Devil Fork Gap, at 10:07pm EDT, 16:14:28, 49.4 miles, 11,958′ ascent and 12,103′ descent. Last night my left quad developed a severe strain due to compensating for my right patella femoral joint (kneecap) that became irritated coming down from the Smokies. Today I walked into Erwin, TN from Devil Fork Gap, 33.1 miles. Staying positive and need to get the quad back in order over the next two days. Otherwise I’m enjoying being out on the trail and meeting more thru hikers. I got to spread a little trail magic today to “No Poles” who needed a new pair of shoes and I had an extra pair of Brooks RunningCascadias. Onward!

June 4th

Appalachian Trail Day 8 update: Yesterday was National Running Day and I found it ironic that I couldn’t run. Hope you all ran some miles for me! I had a good time on the trail, started in Erwin, TN at River Rd/Unaka Springs Rd 6:15am EDT, ascent 10,019′, descent 6414′, 37 miles to Carvers Gap at 9:27pm. 15:12:48 my knee and quad are slowly starting to rebound, it was good to have more ascent than descent. Today is a lot of downhill so we’ll see how everything holds up.

Photo from last night’s sunset on Roan Mountain, the 5th highest point on the AT. I didn’t know that several of the highest peaks are in the South!

June 5th

June 5th

Appalachian Trail Day 9 update: Yesterday morning leaving Carvers Gap had some of the best views I’ve seen so far from several open balds, a really beautiful section. Departed at 6:16am, ascent 7568′, descent 10,485′, arrived at Dennis Cove Rd at 8:22pm, 38.8 miles total 14:06:52

June 6th

June 6th

Appalachian Trail Day 10 update: Crossing a state border is always a thrill as it marks definitive progress. Stoked to make it to Virginia! Departed Dennis Cove Rd at 6:13am, ascent 10,088′, descent 10,495′, arrived in Damascus,10:07pm, 50.3 miles, 15:54:15. Huge thank you to The Duck House for putting us up last night and to the locals who joined me for some miles today and gave Jenny the morning off. No wonder they call this the “friendliest town on the AT!”

June 7th

June 7th

They say a picture is a thousand words. El Venado and The Jurker are back!

June 9th

Appalachian Trail Day 14: This is Jenny Jurek checking in for Scott. He wanted me to post an update for him since he hasn’t had cell service the last 3 nights. Day 11 Damascus to Fox Creek, over the high point of Virginia, Mt Rogers, and saw the wild ponies at Massie Gap, 41.4 miles. Day 12 Fox Creek to VA 625, 51.8 miles. Day 13 VA 625 to Dismal Falls got to run with Clark Zealand in the morning and stopped by the party at the falls in the evening, 48.4 miles. Day 14, today he has two 20+ mile unsupported sections and we should be in Roanoke tomorrow where he can hopefully post another update.

Yes, I’m trying to fatten him up so we do appreciate all the vegan treats people have been bringing him. Thank you! PS if you ever see me in a McDonalds parking lot it’s because they have free Wi-Fi!

June 11th

Appalachian Trail Day 16: Good morning from Roanoke! Started up to McAfee Knob today with a great group of locals and the Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke crew, thank you! Day 14 started at Dismal Falls and ended on a rocky and technical route to VA 613 Mountain Lake Rd, 51.6 miles. Day 15 was a hot/humid morning with a fun scramble off of Dragons Tooth and cooler temps to end at VA 311, 46 miles. Knee is feeling good and I am enjoying Virginia so far!

June 13th

June 13th

Milestones: Came upon these on the trail as I was making my way to Highway US 60 in the dark, finishing another hot and humid 50-mile day. Hard to believe we are over 800 miles into this 2,189-mile journey!

June 15th

June 15th

Appalachian Trail Day 20: Started the morning run with an old friend at mile 905.8 in Shenandoah National Park. Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer has attempted to break the AT record twice and will give it one more go next year. Super psyched to share some miles and catch up with this guy who knows a thing or two about the trail ahead.

June 16th

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 17 crossed the longest footbridge on the AT over the James River and ended at US 60, 50.4 miles.

Day 18 lots of climbing up to Bald Knob, The Priest and Three Ridges and took a swim in the Tye River during the heat of the day, finished at Humpback Gap, 47.5 miles.

Day 19 entered my second National Park and welcomed the smoother footing through Shenandoah to Skyline 66.7, 51.9 miles.

Day 20 welcomed a nice breeze and my second mama bear sighting with two cubs on the trail, finished at Hogwallow Gap, 54.2 miles. Today is a new day!

Day 21: Three weeks! A quick recap of the last few days: Day 16 started at VA 311 and rolled into Jennings Creek, 48 miles.

June 17th

Live from I70 footbridge, mile 1035 of the Appalachian Trail. Hard to believe if I headed west I’d be home in Boulder/Denver. Feels good to be hitting familiar latitudes!

June 18th

Completed the four state challenge yesterday: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in a day. Made it to PA in the daylight and finished a 49 mile day after 54 and 57 mile days. First time in a while that I’ve finished before dark, feels so good! Maryland was a little training gym for the rocks of Pennsylvania!

June 19th

June 19th

This happened yesterday: HALFWAY!

June 22nd

Appalachian Trail Day 21 started at Hogwallow Gap in Shenandoah National Park and ended at a road construction site at Keys Gap, 57.1 miles.

Day 22 Rickey Gates joined the team for two days on his way to Mount Washington Hill Climb; it’s always nice to see another familiar face. I completed the four state challenge (VA, WV, MD, PA) and met a lot of great folks including a big group from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, finished in light rain at Old PA 16, 49.5 miles.

Day 23 crossed the official halfway point and ended at the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, 54.7 miles.

Day 24 so many great people all day kept me going to Greenpoint School Rd, 59.7 miles.

Day 25 ran through Hurricane Bill into the night over some rocky terrain to Hawk Mountain Rd, 52.3. My buddy Russell brought me Thai food from NYC and Vegan Treats delivered two boxes of out of these world desserts, which made everything better.

Today, I slept in! Ran with Glen Redpath, Nathan Echols and a bunch of locals all day and cut it short at Wind Gap to catch up on sleep, 45.5 miles.

Day 26: Happy Summer Solstice! It’s an AT tradition to hike naked today but my fear of ticks got the better of me. Good night!

June 23rd

June 23rd

Appalachian Trail Day 27 started at Wind Gap, entered the state of New Jersey, took a nap, and finished way past my bedtime at High Point State Park, 58.3 miles.

Day 28: I startled a large black bear this morning and then came upon “Mama Bear” and her 3 kids “Strongman” and “Little Butt” (5 year old twins) and “Spicy Guy” age 11. They thru-hiked from Springer Mt to Harpers Ferry last year and this year are completing the second half to Katahdin completely self supported. Trail tough kids, built to last!

June 24th

June 24th

Appalachian Trail Day 29: Just ran over the lowest point of elevation on the entire AT, the Bear Mountain Zoo at 124′ (38m), right before crossing over the Hudson River. Kinda gives a new meaning to one of my favorite album’s opening lyric “New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.”

Amazing to be back in the Empire State, thanks for the love! Can somebody please bring me a vegan cinnamon roll from Peace Food Cafe?

June 25th

June 25th

Throwback Thursday to Day 4 of the Appalachian Trail running across Fontana Dam, TN with the love of my life. Without her this journey would be impossible. She is my lifeline and makes sure this ship keeps heading north. Jenny inspires me to keep putting one foot in front of the other when it seems impossible. Hard to believe how far we’ve come, Day 30 today! This one is for you babe!

June 26th

June 26th

Appalachian Trail Day 30: Almost through Connecticut and onto Massachusetts tomorrow!

June 27th

Sunset from unnamed pond. The last two days in Connecticut and Massachusetts I’ve been noticing the subtle transitions to New England and the Northeast. Good night from Bear Mountain Road, MA!

June 28th

June 28th

Appalachian Trail Day 33: A storm greeted me last night and sent me off this morning at the top of Mt Greylock (3491′) the highest point in Massachusetts. Strong winds blew several trees down on the trail and I saw a large porcupine under one of them. Hoping this weather doesn’t hang around too long as I head into Vermont, or as the local hikers say, “Vermud.”

June 29th

Happy Monday Morning! Everyday on the trail I eat at least one smoothie or shake, as it’s an efficient way to down calories and protein. Here is one of my favorite summer recipes, Avocado Key Lime Pie. Since this one is more like a dessert, I prefer to eat it in a bowl! So Delicious Dairy Free is having a Celebrity Shake Off and if my recipe receives the most votes they will donate $25,000 to my charity of choice Every Mother Counts. Please help support this amazing organization that helps make pregnancy and childbirth safe for mothers around the world. Vote today!

June 30th

June 30th

July 1st

July 1st

Appalachian Trail Day 36: It’s been the rainiest June in Vermont in 130 years so it’s only fitting that my last few miles were in a torrential downpour. Yesterday was a rough one but I was pumped to cross my second to last state line this morning. Hello New Hampshire!

July 3rd

July 3rd

Appalachian Trail Day 38: Twenty-minute predawn cat nap after an epic all-nighter from NH 25A to Galehead Hut in the White Mountains, 48.4 miles. Surreal traveling over granite mountains under a waning moon. Good times with Timmy O’Neill, Andrew Drummond and former AT FKT record holder Andrew Thompson who joined us for some miles and imparted his sage wisdom. Huge thank you to the guys who found us on the trail bearing gifts of avocado maki and vegan pizza!

July 4th

Rise and shine!

July 5th

July 5th

Appalachian Trail Day 39: Perfect temps and views from the Northern Presidential Traverse on Independence Day, I’ve been looking forward to this section and it did not disappoint. Happy 4th, everyone!

July 6th

July 6th

Appalachian Trail Day 40: Coming to you live from the magic hour in MAINE!!!

July 8th

Appalachian Trail Day 43: 2000 miles down, 189.2 to go. Getting closer!

8th July

July 9th

Appalachian Trail Day 44: Kennebec River crossing this morning with my buddy Topher Gaylord. Reminded me of being a kid again! HUGE thank you to Adventure Bound John and Mandy for making this possible.

July 9th

July 12th

Appalachian Trail Day 46: My first view of Katahdin today, hard to put into words.

July 12

July 12th – Part 2

Appalachian Trail Day 46.5: Yes, this is happening.

July 12 pt2

 

Scott Finish

 

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Follow Scott Jurek on Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Purchase his book HERE

You can read all about  the AT HERE