This is Episode 119 of Talk Ultra and we have a 1-hour special interview with Speedgoat Karl Meltzer on his incredible record breaking FKT on the AT. We also have interviews with the male and female winners of the Superior 100, Mallory Richard and Frank Pipp. We have the news and Ian is going solo!
KARL ON THE AT
On Sept. 18 at 3:38 a.m Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer emerged from the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga., and set a new Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record with a time of 45 days 22 hours and 38 minutes. Meltzer started his supported run at 5 a.m. on Aug. 3 from Mt. Katahdin, Maine, and averaged approximately 47 miles per day at a pace of 3.2 miles per hour. Meltzer’s time beats the previous record by more than 10 hours, which was set by Scott Jurek in 2015.
The project, in planning for more than two years, was accomplished with a small core crew consisting of Meltzer’s father, Karl Sr., and crew chief Eric Belz. Others joined the crew to support Meltzer for short periods throughout the hike, including Meltzer’s wife and fellow ultrarunners. The crew traveled alongside Meltzer every day, providing him with food, water, medical attention and logistical support. Meals were prepared and taken in a van, which also served as Meltzer and Belz’s sleeping quarters.
00:09:39 INTERVIEW WITH SPEEDGOAT
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK well I have a first copy in my hand and I have to say I am somewhat pleased and happy. It’s taken a couple of years and at times it never felt quite real. The book in my hand confirms it is real and Spanish, German, Italian and UK versions will be available in the coming months. I believe Spain is first (September) Italy is October and the UK November. I don’t have a date on the German edition yet! – HERE
Pipp crossed the line in 20:24:00 a superior, Superior 100 champion. His run for a rookie 100-mile runner was incredible. Uhan had run a clever and smart race, he had saved something for those closing challenging miles and he pulled away from Jenkins and Schwarz-Lowe. His finish 22:46 was a solid 8-minutes ahead of Jenkins who had no doubt had the race of his life… he had managed to pull ahead of Schwarz-Lowe and take the final podium place by just 1-minute. But this only tells half the story. In the closing miles, under darkness, tired, fatigued and lacking focus, Jenkins had run into a head height true branch that cut his head open sending him flat to the ground. Somehow he managed to pick himself up and find the effort and pace to hold off a charging Schwarz-Lowe.
Richard finished next, first lady and 5th overall with a new course record 23:51. Her performance was stunning and almost looked effortless. It was impressive! Tina Johnson finished 2nd and Stephanie Hoff 3rd, 29:50 and 30:52 respectively. Queen of the Superior 100 finished 4th in 31:07 and in doing so, achieved her 16th buckle.
02:20:22 INTERVIEW with MALLORY RICHARD
RUN RABBIT RUN
Alex Nichols runs his first 100 wins in 17:57 and takes home 12,000 dollars. Nice! Mark Hammon 2nd in 19:19 and Kyle Curtin 3rd 19:27. Incredibly Jeff Browning was 4th… he is having some year!
Courtney Dawalter won the ladies race (not a nam I know) ahead of Alissa St Laurent and Nicole Kalogeropoulos. Their times 21:23, 22:38 and 23:10.
Notable drops were Nikki Kimball who has won the race in the past and Sage Canaday dropped in the men’s race.
Darcy Piceu came from behind to win in 23:15 and Trevor Fuchs 21:13
DEVILS RIDGE 70K
Yun Yanqiao run 6:30 to finish 11 minutes in front of Francois D’Haene. In the women’s race, Lucy Bartholomew pipped Sally McRae.
In just 4-weeks, I will be heading out to the USA to work on and photograph the Superior 100.
Superior 100 will be my only trip to the US this year and I am really stoked to be part of a race with such an incredible history. To add to the experience, 1992 Superior 100 race winner and US ultra running legend Eric Clifton is coming back to run! Eric has a list of palmares that goes back to ‘89’ when he toed the line Vermont 100 and he only went and won the race in 15:48:59. Since then, Eric has been an ever present on the racing scene and in addition to winning Vermont 100 multiple times he has topped the podium at races such as:
Old Dominion 100,
Rocky Racoon 100,
Bull Run 50,
Crown King Scramble 50,
Ice Age Trail 50,
Kettle Moraine 100,
Mount Rushmore 100,
San Diego 100,
McNaughton Park 100
Eric’s most recent victory came in ‘08’ at Noble Canyon 50km. Just reading Eric’s victory list blows my mind but a take a look here, the list goes on with a plethora of top-10 places and race finishes. A true legend of the sport and I can’t wait to chat and have my horizons opened to a world and a series of races that I have only previously read about!
Founded in ‘91’, Superior 100 is one of the oldest 100-mile trail races in the country. Way back in the day it was one of an elite band of 10-12 100-mile races in the US. Founded by Harry Sloan, the race did have a name change some time back when it was called, Sawtooth 100, however it was changed back to its original name and that has stuck to present day.
Minnesota, the home of the Superior 100 has a long and proud ultra running history and I have to say, this Brit just can’t wait to immerse himself in the experience. Much of my year is now spent working on races all over the world. In just the last couple of years I have seen the calendar explode. To go back to a ‘pure’ race excites me and I have to say, it will be my first real experience of one the corner stones of our sport.
‘Rugged, Relentless and Remote, Superior 100 is known as one of the toughest 100mile trail races in the world! Now known as one of the ‘legacy 100-milers’ the race is considered by many to be one of the most challenging, prestigious and beautiful 100-mile trail races in the country. None of the history or tradition of this race has been lost and it is a great event for those looking for a world-class event with a low-key, old school 100 miler feel. The Superior Trail Race is put on by ultra runners for ultra runners.’
Be honest, how could you not be pulled in by that quote!
A point-to-point ultra marathon that is 100% trail! The race route traverses the Sawtooth Mountain Range (hence the old Sawtooth 100 name) on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches northern Minnesota. Lake Superior, the greatest freshwater lake in the world provides a stunning backdrop to a race that climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests. Crossing countless whitewater rivers and serene streams the 100-mile route meanders through mystic Boreal forests. Gooseberry Falls State Park Visitors’ Center, MN hosts the start of the race and a welcome finish awaits each and every runner at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen, MN.
I will be heading out to the US on September 2nd and heading back to ‘Blighty’ on September 8th. It’s a whistle stop tour but I plan to immerse myself in the experience, culture and I hope to meet up with so many friends, virtual or real, in and around the trails of the Superior 100.
If you are racing, spectating or crewing, good luck! An awesome experience awaits us all.