A world record was set on July 12th when “ultramarathoner” Scott Jurek finished hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine — beating the previous world record time by three hours in the process.
The Portland Press Herald in Maine reports that Jurek completed the 2,180-mile, 14-state journey in 46 days, eight hours, and eight minutes. Jurek announced the news in a Twitter post with a photo of him celebrating on top of the trail head on Mount Katahdin around 2 p.m.
Roughly the size of the United States’ border with Mexico, the Appalachian Trail generally takes even the the most experienced hikers several months to complete. Jurek, however, started the hike at Springer Mountain in Georgia on May 27th at about 6:00 a.m. and finished roughly less than nine weeks later.
The Boulder, Colorado native claims to have spotted the peak of Mount Katahdin for the first time on the 11th, indicating that he was close to his journey’s end.
Seeing the peak was “hard to put into words,” Jurek wrote on his Facebook page. To verify his achievement, he used DeLorme’s InReach GPS mapping services to track his movement.
Jurek is considered an “ultramarathoner” since he competes in foot-races longer than a marathon, which is a tad more than 26 miles. Not only that, but he’s considered one of the best competitive ultramarathoners in the country, holding several titles and records such as the American record for the 24-hour all surfaces race at 165.7 miles in 2010. He is also the author of a memoir entitled Eat and Run.
The Appalachian Trail is one of the most hiked locations in the U.S. with roughly two to three million people hiking a section of it every year. Only 2,000 people, however, attempt to hike the entire trail all at once (known as the “thru-hike”). Most who attempt the intrepid journey take at least half a year to complete, and of the 2,000 hikers who begin the thru-hike, only 500 make it through.
In general, hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States. About 92% of campers have hiked at least once in the outdoors.
At 41, Jurek claims this could be his last ultramarathon competition, as he wants to retire and raise a family with his wife.