After walking nearly 2,200 miles across 14 states, endurance athlete Karl Meltzer emerged from the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Ellijay on September 18. It took him just shy of 46 days to speed hike the entire trail – from Mt. Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia – a new world record.
Meltzer’s hike started August 3 at 3 am, and he averaged about 47 miles a day at a pace of 3.2 miles per hour. His actual time – 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes, shaved more than 10 hours off of the previous record, which was set in 2015.
The record hike comes after two other speed hiking attempts by Meltzer, in 2008 and 2014. Other members of his crew, including his father, Karl Sr., his wife and other ultrarunners, joined Meltzer for short periods during the hike. His support crew traveled alongside in a van, preparing his meals and other support. The van also served as his sleeping quarters during the hike.
A typical day for Meltzer started at about 5 a.m., before he stopped, usually between 7 and 9 p.m. Over the course of the day, he would end up downing several big meals – steak, fried chicken, ice cream, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, burgers, steamed vegetables, pasta, Red Bull, and beer – dinner. Usually, he would average 60 to 70 minutes between the time he came off the trail and the time he went to sleep.
You think your pedometer gets a workout? Meltzer’s logged about 4.2 million steps – averaging about 92,300 steps per day. He burned about 345,100 calories, averaging about 7,500 per day, and used up 22 pairs of shoes.