An ultrarunner, who also happens to be a park ranger, set a new record for running across the Great Smokey Mountain National Park a few months back, when he ran the section of the Appalachian Trail, which crosses that region. According to this story, from the Knoxville News, 26-year old David Worth covered the 72-mile distance in 14 hours, 50 minutes, and 22 seconds.
Worth actually made his record breaking run back on May 19, but this story of his epic run is just now starting to leak out. He began his journey on the North Carolina side of the national park before dawn and then proceeded to run west. He took a break at about 12:40 in the afternoon, in the parking lot of Newfound Gap, the halfway point of the run, where he ate three boiled potatoes, before he hit the trail once again. Just after 7 PM that evening, he reached the finish line at Davenport Gap, where the AT exits the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
As the Adventure Journal, who linked me to this story, points out, Worth averaged more than a 12-minute mile while on his run. Any runner will tell you that that isn’t incredibly fast. But what is impressive is that he managed to keep running, across often difficult sections of trail, for nearly 15 hours. That is quite a display of endurance to say the least. Still, at that pace, he did manage to break the old record, held by Jon Lawler, by more than an hour.
Worth says he isn’t done with the AT yet and would like to give it another go to see if he can shave even more time off his record. In August, he also ran a series of interconnected trails in the park that covered about 44 miles in length, which he completed in 10 hours, 3 minutes, 41 seconds. Those trails were almost entirely up or down mountains however, which was a very different experience than the one that he had in May.
Reading this guy’s story makes me want to hit the trail myself.
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