Lonely Planet Writer

Marathon runner breaks Appalachian Trail record

For ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek, it will apparently be his ‘masterpiece’. On Sunday a new record was set for running all 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a route which crosses 12 states from Maine to Georgia, and climbs the Smoky Mountains highest peak, the Clingmans Dome.

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania from the Appalachian Trail.
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania from the Appalachian Trail. Image by Nicholas A. Tonelli / CC BY 2.0

Jurek completed the route in 46 days, eight hours and eight minutes, beating out the previous record set in 2011 by Jennifer Pharr Davis by three hours and 12 minutes. Jurek began the run on May 27th in Georgia, running an average of around 50 miles a day to complete the route. Jurek is known as a character from Christopher McDougall’s bestseller Born to Run, and has previously been named as America’s Athlete of the Week when he set a US record at the World 24-hour Run Championships in France in 2010 for running 165.7 miles in 24 hours.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the organisation which maintains the trail, said that 15,000 people have ever managed to complete the trail, but that only one in four hikers who set out to complete the route actually finish it. After completing a number of endurance runs, Jurek has said this may be his last be journey as he is planning to start a family with his wife. Read more: usatoday.com