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


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.

Northern Traverse 2016 – Eoin Keith takes victory!


The rain came in through the night, the wind blew and blew. The mist dropped and it would have been easy for Eoin Keith to stay in the back of the van at the Lion Hotel and not attempt the final push for the line… but races of this length are won in the mind.

Eoin Keith is a remarkable athlete (as are all those who participate in this 190 mile journey) but his mind and his strength of will and tenacity are maybe what sets him apart from his peers, he has a capacity to keep going, even when the legs say no.


At one point, it did look as though Eoin may come in in just under 2 days for the 190 miles. Early on day 3 though when about 22 miles from the line, one could see the fatigue.

Over the final 10km he really slowed, of course it is to be completely expected. However, as he entered Robin Hood Bay he smiled and ran to the line – job done.

We have an unofficial time of 2 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes – tbc

It’s an incredible, awe-inspiring run. The distance alone is jaw dropping but the weather conditions, terrain and total elevation gain make this a true beast. Attention now turns to all the other runners who are still out on the course and have till 0800 on Saturday to complete the journey.

For now, enjoy Eoin’s finish and I feel a little sad that I can’t be around for the coming days to document the remaining journey; another race beckons…

Follow the liv tracker HERE

Race website http://www.northerntraverse.com


Northern Traverse 2016 – Day 2 Summary


“We seek him here, we seek him there,

Those photographers seek him everywhere.

Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell?

That damned, elusive Eoin Keith”

– a mis-quoted Baroness Emma Orczy

Eoin Keith is on fire, he is blasting through checkpoints and burning up the trail. I tried to catch him this morning and missed by about 10-minutes at Nine Stands. I even expected a faster pace and navigated ahead on the trail so that I could run towards him…. a lack of 3G failed me and when I finally goy an update on my tracker it told me the bad news. Eoin had passed but by the narrowest of margins.

I remained on the higher ground and was blasted by the strong icy winds to John Knapp and Matt Neale come through. The front three are relatively equally spaced at the time of writing (1400 Tuesday), Eoin is probably getting close to Richmond? If only I could get 3G.

The 190 mile journey is taking its toll and runners are now spread over a large area, the last runner is David Taylor (I believe) and he is climbing out of Patterdale – puts Eoin Keith’s pace into perspective.

Day 2 conditions are good with great visibility, just a strong, cold wind to contend with.

Ship will be a key aid station in the coming hours and evening for the back markers, equally, Richmond important for the from markers.

How long will Eoin Keith stay in Richmond? My guess, not long… Robin Hood Bay is starting to appear quite close

Follow the race live on tacking HERE

Check outage race website http://www.northerntraverse.com


William Sichel to attempt World’s Longest Certified Footrace – 3100 miles


Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel, has announced that he will be attempting to become the first Scot, first Brit and first person over 60-years of age to complete the World’s Longest Certified Footracethe Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race – within the current 52 day time limit.

Described by the New York Times as the “Mount Everest of ultra marathons”, the 18th edition of this event will, once again, take place on a half mile street circuit in Queens, New York from June 15th to August 6th this year. A small field of about a dozen runners is expected.

“I wanted to make this year in particular rather special, it being my 60th year and also my 20th in ultra distance running.  I’ve always specialised in standard road and track ultras so, to me, this is the ultimate in this type of race.  Clearly it is way beyond anything I have previously attempted and I’ll need to use all my experience to try and finish the race!”

Sri Chinmoy was an Indian spiritual master and teacher of meditation, who established himself in New York in the 1960’s and who died in 2007.  The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team organise many running events world-wide, including in Scotland, England and Wales.

“My first ever standard ultra was the Sri Chinmoy 100km race in Edinburgh in 1994, which to my amazement I won. Since then I have done loads of Sri Chinmoy ultra distance events world-wide and up to 6 Days in duration. Their events are always well organised and have the best interests of the runners at heart.”

William has known about this incredible event for a long time but never thought he would be able to participate or realistically consider himself a possible finisher.

“Trying to clear a two months gap in your life isn’t easy and in fact that becomes part of the challenge. It will be the most incredible trial for me – the ultimate really in long distance running.”

For organisational reasons the race is run a bit like a stage race with the runners and organisers having an enforced break between mid-night and 6am every day.  The clock doesn’t stop of course.

So in effect the competitors have 18 hours a day to cover the daily average of 60 miles required to complete the challenge within the time limit.

“I’ve run 153 miles in a single day as a one off. In six day races I cover 80-90 miles as a daily average and in my only 1000 miles race I averaged 72 miles a day. To attempt a daily average of 60 miles, week in and week out, will need the most astonishing effort and conservation of resources.”

Welshman Abichal Watkins, was the first British person to compete in the event, finishing five times in five years, with a best performance of 54 days 11 hours in 2008.  He is now a race organiser and this year is promoting the Celtic Ultra Fest in Weston-super-Mare in September.

William is working on Project165.com in which he will attempt to have set 165 ultra running records before his 65th birthday on October 1st 2018.  Amongst William’s current 95 records he holds nine world age-group records including the fastest time to run 1000 miles.

William is dedicating Project165.com to raise funds for CLAN Cancer Support and his dedicated web page can be found here: http://www.justgiving.com/William-Sichel

Legends! what if… Ann Trason


I posted today on my Talk Ultra Facebook page, ‘Question? Who is excited to see how Scott Jurek does at Leadville 100 on the 17th August… I am for sure!’

Now, Scott is a legend of the sport, but for a while now he hasn’t raced in anger… to be honest, he has hardly raced! He has paced Anton Krupicka at Leadville and most recently he paced Seb Chaigneau at Hardrock 100, but, Scott has not toed a line for himself for some time. Probably the 24-hour was his last big race when he set an American record?

Now of course, he may be just turning up at Leadville to run for fun. I am sure all will become clear… to be honest, I am not too concerned. First or last, I for one am just going to be really happy to see him out on the trails.

With that in mind, I was thinking, who else would I love to see back in the mountains, back on the single track mixing it up with everyone else?

I laughed a little.

Of course, I would love to see Ann Trason back in a race again.

Then I thought to myself, my good buddy, Marcus Warner over at Ultra168 told me how Ann was pacing at Western States this year. In actual fact, Marcus spoke with her and ran with her. So, never say never!


My email alerts me…

The contents are simple. Just a link. A link that says, click HERE

Now I know who this email is from, so my concerns about it being a problematic email are eased, however, I do wonder, is it a joke? If I click ‘here’ what will happen?

I press.

It’s a list of runners.

At the top it says, ‘2013 IMTUF 100 – Idaho Mountain Trail Ultra Festival – Registered Entrants’

I look down.

BINGO! all becomes clear.

RANK it says 99.5%

AGE RANK it says, 100%,

RESULTS it says, 51,

TARGET it says, 34:24:53,

F53 and the name…

ANN TRASON, Kensington, CA

Now, lets get one think clear. Ann Trason has been away from our sport for a long time. To see her name on a start sheet means just one thing.

She is back running.

For me, that is enough… I won’t discuss what can she do, why, what if or maybe.

All I want to say is, welcome back Ann.

This list below says it all.


51 races, 49 wins.

Ann Trason Page 1

Ann Trason Page 2

 Idaho Mountain Trail Ultra Festival website HERE

Ann Trason on Ultra Signup HERE

Patrick Bauer – The Interview


Patrick Bauer has a passion and a love for the Marathon des Sables that the passing of the years has not suppressed. Back in 1984 he ventured into the Algerian Sahara to cover 350km’s alone in a self sufficient manner. Little did he know that his journey would not only change his life but also so many lives of so many others…


Translation services provided by Niandi Carmont

IC Patrick, welcome. In 1984 you took a solo journey across the Algerian Sahara. Why, what inspired you?

PB In 1984 I decided to take a self-sufficient journey of 350km. It took me 12 days; because of my self-suffiency my pack weighed 35 kilos. I needed enough food water for the whole journey. I had no help. It was an incredible undertaking.

IC What was the motivation, It must have taken some planning?

PB I had lived in West Africa for two years. I was employed to sell Encyclopedias to teachers and books on medicine to doctors and pharmacists. Returning to France was difficult. I had no desire to stay… I just wanted to leave again. During my 2 years in Africa I had crossed the Sahara five to six times by car but I wanted to cross on my own, on foot. I remember it well, I had returned to France, I had no apartment so I returned to my parents. I was back sharing a room with my brother. I woke up one morning and said

“I am going to cross the Sahara on foot”

My brother said, “Ok, go to sleep… you had a nightmare”

I said to my brother you must help with a camera and sponsors. Just three weeks later I left to take the journey.

IC That journey influenced the rest of your life but importantly it changed your immediate life in the mid 80’s. In 1986 you decided to share that experience and create Marathon des Sables. What gave you the confidence to create such a race? How did you know you would have a market?

PB I realized when I did a presentation to my village. I had friends and sponsors present. It was a thank you but I had awoken curiosity and interest. Local runners did not want to make the journey alone, so, I decided to organize it. No other event compared, maybe Paris-Dakar. It was a ground breaking moment.


IC In the early years, was participation mainly French?

PB Yes, French with the exception of one Moroccan. We had 23 runners at the first edition. It took 24 months to plan and create. Little did those 24 know that they would be the pioneers of one of the most beautiful stories that will soon be 30 years old?

IC In the early 1990’s you contacted ‘The Best of Morocco’ to introduce British and Irish runners, was this a long term plan to expand the race?

PB We already had contact with this agency (Best of Morocco) but by 1990 I had already done 5 editions of the Marathon des Sables. I wanted to expand internationally and I wanted as many countries present as possible. We started in a tentative way and today we have as many English runners as French and potentially more in the future.

IC British entries have reached 250+. The race is known worldwide. Did you know it would become so big?

PB I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined it would be what it is today. When a race is over, I start immediately on the next year. I have a passion and I don’t think about it all the time.  I want to be more strategic with my long-term vision. 2015 is the 30th edition; I like to plan 3 years ahead so I already anticipate higher demand for 2015.

IC What is it that makes the race so special. You appeal to novices and experienced runners. It is a difficult balance but you do it so well.

PB I think it is the concept. The cocktail of the desert, running and the self-sufficiency. Nobody at the beginning thought it would be possible to run with a pack. The expedition was an extra bonus…. You need to manage everything; calories, water, clothing, rest etc. All these elements combine to create the ultimate experience. It was new! Today we have additional security. Runners tell us that the safety element is key. Believe it or not, the average age is 40yrs+. These participants have families and children so risk is not negotiable. We want to offer security and safety for all these participants. We have helicopters, planes and insurance to make sure everyone is protected. Finally, it is about testing your limits; in our busy lives we find going back to basics a wonderful experience. Under the stars with friends, sat around a campfire, simple conversation and no luxuries. It is primal. It brings out true values that we may have forgotten. Because the desert facilitates all that is around us, the stars, the universe, you don’t need a book to tell you that ultimately we are all insignificant.


IC What is it that makes runners that go back year after year?

PB Yes, we have some people returning for the 22nd or 23rd time. But it is not the same for all. If everyone came back we would have the same race, this would not be good. But we have a faithful family that we have created from the start. We have affinity and we love to find each other in the desert. We are also happy to find new friends. Maybe we have people return years later to celebrate a key moment such as a 50th birthday. We have a fraternity side, we share values. We have a respect for difference and other countries. All the languages that are spoken. These are the experiences that make the event. It is the combination of so many elements that make it great. We have an edge I think and that brings people back.

IC What is the future of the race? Will the race become bigger with more runners?

PB Yes, I think we will have more participants in 2013. We will have 350 from the UK. We had a meeting with worldwide representatives some time ago and it was decided that we would all work together on a communication strategy and we discussed the 30th edition. We have had great demand; we have refused more than 2,000 entries. I get messages about the 30th edition asking if it will be 300km as the 25th edition was 250km. Because of the worldwide economic crisis we may need to take more entries so that we can ensure the quality of the race such as safety. This is why we prepare 3 years ahead.


IC As a race director can you give us an insight into the Marathon des Sables?

PB The advise to the runners is repeated every morning, like, hydration, protecting your head, sun block and more specific advice concerning the course. Storms can just arrive and then last a half-day or even 4-5 days. A few years ago we had floods… that year we had to plan from day-to-day. It wasn’t easy. The biggest problems are usually weather related. For the rest of us, it is a safe country. We have government backing should we have a problem, for example we have military assistance. We have trucks and soldiers who transport the tents everyday and we have 400 people who work on the event. If you add journalists, drivers, volunteers etc. then we have more like 450 people.  I have 110 people who directly report to me.


IC It is so impressive, the tents, the staff, and the helicopters. A circus!

PB It is a little like the circus. Up and down, load up and move. I am always impressed. It is fantastic.

IC Since the beginning can you pinpoint any highlights?

PB The feeling you get from every event. We have an extraordinary experience. We share values with participants and it creates a bond. Some say ‘never again’ and then two years later we see them again. We all strive for equilibrium to balance the experience and we all strive for positive thoughts. If we have them then we can share beautiful things.

IC In 2005 you had an Opera singer to sing before the start. A magical experience.

PB Yes, for the 20th anniversary we had a spectacular start with an Opera singer and musicians. She was Japanese. It was a moving experience. Classical music is in harmony with the desert. At the beginning the runners are still fresh so they can enjoy the experience.

IC What do you think of Olympian James Cracknells performance at Marathon des Sables, he is not your ‘typical’ desert runner?

PB He was an excellent champion, a top-level athlete who understood how to test the limits. So I think he had a new experience in the Sahara. He asked himself what he was doing at the race several times I think. Discovery Channel did a documentary on him. He demanded respect as an athlete. As a man I did not get to know him but as a sportsman I am sure he has great values.

IC Has the race become easier over time or have you made adjustments to make the experience more challenging?

PB The race is not easier. The distance has increased over the years but water can be a key issue and we now have great water supplies which was not so in the past. In the past water was an issue. But we all have short memories. We forget the hardships. Every year has new demands. We now have more positive incline. We used to spend time in the valleys.


IC True, we all forget hard times very quickly. We always remember the good times and they are our memories.

PB At the end you have sore feet and blisters… but your mind is selective. We filter the negative to retain the good. The human and sport experiences. We forget the soreness and remember the positive.

IC Do you still run, do you have the time?

PB Yes, I run after the sponsors, I run after my planes, I run after my trains… I started cycling a little and I do a little running. It’s not a good time for me. But then again, I always have an excuse. It is difficult but I am motivated to try to be more regular with my own exercise.

IC Patrick, it really has been excellent to get an insight into such an iconic race. Thank you so much.

PB Merci beaucoup


Patrick Bauer, Marathon des Sables copyright www.lest-eclair.fr

Patrick Bauer, Marathon des Sables copyright http://www.lest-eclair.fr