46 days, 8 hours, and 8 minutes. 2200 miles. July 12, 2015.
Holy moly! Congratulations to Scott Jurek on his new speed record thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. He beat the previous known record by only a few hours (set by Jennifer Pharr Davis). Also, Scott Jurek is vegan!
There are many things to say about this pretty incredible accomplishment. First of all, never can anyone say that a vegan thru-hike is impossible. Anyone can do it, from the fastest to the slowest. Second, this is endurance sport at the limits. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy does not track the speed record, and for some very good reasons. But this is pushing the limits of the human body: to hike this much, over mountains, averaging over fifty miles a day. There is no way around it: this was grueling, hard work.
Jurek seems to be very genuine, and genuinely interested in supporting the Appalachian Trail and the incredible community of hikers who walk it. Big props to him for taking the time to talk and take photos with hikers, to acknowledge that part of what makes the AT so special is the people who are on it.
I don’t hope that Jurek’s hike inspires ill-prepared record attempts (he’s a professional ultrarunner!!). But I do hope that his hike inspires more people to take a look at the Appalachian Trail, to feel the longing for it, to support and care for its maintenance and protection, and to maybe take that first step off of Springer toward Katahdin some cool spring morning.
Hike vegan! and keep on going. Happy trails to Scott Jurek!