After 46 days and roughly eight hours, legendary ultramarathoner Scott Jurek has achieved his goal of setting the Appalachian Trail speed record—previously held by BRO contributor Jennifer Pharr Davis.
Scott reached the summit of Khatadin shortly after 2 P.M. today, just a few hours ahead of his 5:15 P.M. cut-off time.
Jurek began his quest to take down the supported AT speed record back on May 27 at the trail’s southern terminus atop Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Early in his journey he sustained injuries to his knee and then his quad that many thought might derail his historic run at the record.
Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Editor in Chief, Will Harlan joined Jurek for a few days in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.
“It’s hard to stay healthy for 50 days of mega-mileage, especially on rocky, muddy, messy trail. Blisters and foot rot are common. Rugged terrain with few switchbacks inevitably leads to muscle and ligament tears. Jurek has been dealing with all of these things over the past six weeks,” Harlan told Elevation Outdoors Editor Doug Schitzspahn in an article for National Geographic. “I don’t know how he has hobbled 2,000 miles on a torn quad. It shows how mentally tough he is. He is the king of pain.”
Harlan’s sentiments about Jurek’s unusually high pain threshold have been echoed by many and were a central tenet in Chris Mcdougall’s bestselling book Born to Run, which profiled several key figures in the ultrarunning world.
His story was cemented in the pantheon of long distance running elites long before this latest record-setting performance. From 1998 to 2005, Jurek won the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, making him the longest running consecutive winner in the storied event’s history. The same year he won his last Western States, Jurek toppled the speed record of the infamous Badwater 135—a grueling 135 mile foot race through California’s Death Valley—after collapsing from heat exhaustion near the halfway point.
Stay tuned to BlueRidgeOutdoors.com for upcoming stories about Scott Jurek’s monumental achievement on the Appalachian Trail.