The Chase Is On: 42-year-old schoolteacher could break the A.T. speed record this weekend

For most teachers, summer break is a time to relax. For 42-year-old high school teacher Harvey Lewis, it’s an opportunity to chase the most coveted trail record by running almost 50 miles a day for 45 consecutive days.

May 30 marked the beginning of Harvey Lewis’ race to beat the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail record set last year by Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy—45 days, 12 hours, and 15 minutes.

The 42-year-old schoolteacher from Cincinnati is no novice to the running world. He represented Team USA at the 24 Hour World Championships three times, ran Gandhi’s Salt March and won the 135-mile Badwater ultramarathon in 2014.

So far, Lewis is 1,900 miles in to his journey and closing in on the finish this weekend.

Lewis is going for a supported record, which means he’ll have assistance—food, water, and medical supplies—along the way. McConaughy was self-supported, meaning he did not receive any support during his A.T. journey. Lewis’ father, 78, has been driving a van and providing food, aid, and shelter at road crossings.

“The opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime with my father on a journey we never would have imagined,” Lewis wrote in a Facebook post before he embarked on his race. “The love of the wilderness and need to push myself to new places has inspired the seed.”

Lewis began his trek from the Appalachian Trail’s Springer Mountain trailhead in Georgia heading north. Yesterday, he summited Mount Washington, which is approximately 260 miles from the A.T.’s northern terminus atop Mount Katahdin in Maine. Lewis hopes to complete the trail by this Saturday, July 14.

His progress can be followed on Road ID, one of his sponsors, or you can join the 8,000 followers on his Facebook page.


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