45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes.
That’s the amount of time it took a young endurance athlete from from Seattle, Washington, known to the hiking community as Stringbean, to traverse all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy achieved the staggering feat five days ago on September 1. If verified by recognized officials within the Appalachian Trail speed hiking community—and according to Gear Junkie who monitored McConaughy’s progress in realtime using his SPOT GPS tracking link, it most certainly will be— he will become the latest in a rapidly changing succession of Appalachian Trail speed record setters.
First, there was Asheville resident and renowned thru-hiker, Jennifer Pharr Davis, who held the record from 2011 to 2015 until renowned ultra marathoner Scott Jurek claimed her title for himself by finishing just 3 hours and 12 minutes faster. But Jurek’s seat atop the coveted A.T. speed throne came to an end shortly thereafter when Karl “Speed Goat” Meltzer completed a blistering 45 day, 22 hour, and 38 minute thru-hike that Jurek himself provided trailside support and assistance for.
What sets Stringbean apart, however, is the unassisted nature of his recently completed Appalachian Trail thru-hike. Unlike Jurek and Meltzer who enjoyed sponsorships and well-trained crews of supporters tracking and following their every move, Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy completed his 45 day, 15 hour jaunt without any outside aid.
The last person to hold the Unsupported Fastest Known Time, as its often referred to within the speed hiking community, was Heather “Anish” Anderson. Her hike took a full nine days longer at 54 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes.