Kaiha “Wild Card Ninja” Bertollini, began hiking the Appalachian Trail back in early August, and when she reached the summit of Springer Mountain just a few days ago she claimed to have broken every known speed record.
Predictably, this sent the media into a whirlwind as several heavily-followed media outlets put out stories about Bertolini and her almost inconceivable claim.
The timing of her claim made the story even more intriguing as it came directly on the heels of the well-followed and thoroughly documented record breaking feat of ultra runner Karl Meltzer.
“Sunday September 18, 2016 at 4:50:16 pm. If my math is correct, That is 45 days, 6 hours, and 28 minutes and 16 seconds. The fastest known time to Ever walk/run the trail,” Bertolini wrote on her Facebook wall immediately after completing the thru-hike. ” Any and all people who saw and met me out there, please send a recount of the experience so I can use it to help make my hike official. Thank you and much love for all the encouragement and emotional support. I could not have done this with out it. We did it!”
When speaking with Gear Junkie, Bertollini made no bones about her desire to snatch the record out from under Meltzer and his crew.
“I’ve been trying to catch that S.O.B. the whole time,” she told them. “I had this fantasy that I would catch his crew. He summited a day before me.”
As one would expect, clouds of skepticism have been hovering over Bertollini’s claims since she took to Facebook to make them.
People are asking such questions as why didn’t she use GPS tracking to record her record attempt—a universally used method among those who actually set out to break such records.
And, how could someone who was only recently introduced to the world of thru hiking possibly pull off such an astonishing feat, one that look the well-known and highly respected endurance athlete Meltzer three attempts to pull off.
For now the jury is out, but the general consensus among those with the most stake in the AT record setting game seems to be that she has failed to meet the burden of proof, and that Meltzer’s record stands.
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