Way back in early June I posted a story about Jennifer Pharr Davis, who held the women’s speed record for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, but was just about to set out on an attempt to break her own record. Now, just a couple of months later, she’s completed the hike and set a new record in the process.
Jennifer first hiked the AT end-to-end back in 2008, completing the 2200 mile (3540km) trek in 57 days, 8 hours, and 35 minutes. The record she established yesterday, upon reaching the top of Springer Mountain in Georgia, shaves more than ten days off that mark, as she finished the entire hike in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes.
For those doing the math at home, that means she averaged about 47 miles per day. This time out she not only set the speed record for women however, but for all hikers. She beat the old record, held by Andrew Thompson, which was set back in 2005 and was 47 days, 13 hours, 31 minutes.
Setting out on June 15th, Jennifer had planned to walk for longer days than she did on her 2008 AT hike. She began at the trail head on Mount Katadin in Maine and kept chugging along south until she reached the end in Georgia over the weekend, where she was met by about 50 people, who were on hand to welcome her to the finish line.
The full story of her trek will probably come out once she’s had time to rest and recover, and I’m sure she has some interesting stories from the trail. Along the way, she had to deal with some nagging injuries, intense heat, and plenty of other obstacles, and yet she stayed focused, hiked 15-16 hour days, and averaged about 3 miles per hour while on the move. Not bad all things considered.
Congrats to Jennifer on this impressive feat. The AT is no easy trail to tame and to do it in a month-and-a-half is really amazing. Well done!
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