When I set out for Alaska a couple of weeks ago ultrarunner Scott Jurek was in the midst of an attempt to break the speed record for completing the Appalachian Trail. Now, he approaching the end at last, and he remains on track to complete the long-distance hiking route in an unbelievable time.
Jurek launched his attempt on the AT back on May 27, setting out from the southern end of the trail on Springer Mountain in Georgia. At the time, he hoped to reach the northern end on Mt. Katahdin in Maine – some 2160 miles (3476 km) away – in less than 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. That’s the current record held by Jennifer Pharr Davis, which she set back in 2011.
The ultrarunner passed into Maine a few days back, and is closing in on the finish line now. He’s been running about 50 miles (80 km) per day, and should finish up very soon. Today is Day 43 of the run, and he remains on pace to break the record, most likely shaving a couple of days off the mark set by Pharr Davis. It is unclear exactly when he will finish, but it should be within the next day or two.
There have been some hints that Jurek may be considering retiring from competitive ultra-running. If so, he will leave a legacy that will be tough to beat. During his career, he won seven straight Western States 100s and two Badwaters Ultras, two of the toughest races ever. Completing the AT in record time would be a fitting way to end such an impressive resume.
Stay tuned for more updates as Scott nears the end.
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