Archive for September, 2008

Where’s Karl? Done!

September 29, 2008

Karl Meltzer finished the Appalachian Trail early this morning.  Huge!  The AT is super-classic. Karl ran into tough conditions at the beginning, had to take 4 days off due to injury (see previous posts on this blog on this topic), then picked it back up for a fine finish.

The entire following summary is by Marit Fischer on Where’s Karl.


Karl and Billy spent a few minutes refueling at Woody Gap and hit the trail again at 9:15 PM. They have 11.8 miles to go to Hightower Gap. That’s 19.9 miles left to Springer. Seriously. 19.9 miles.

That Is All.

Many of you have written that you don’t know what you’re going to do when this is over. I’m with you, friends. It’s been a fun ride. It’s been a roller coaster, for sure, with some serious ups and downs and twists and loops. But I love roller coasters and this has been the best one I’ve ever been on. I know already that I’m going to have a severe case of PWKD – Post Where’s Karl Depression – when tomorrow comes and Karl is not out there running anymore.

The last day I was on the trail with Karl we talked about his posting about his experience on this site. He is planning on it. It may be a few days, but he is looking forward to sharing his thoughts on the journey once he has had a bit of time to rest and process it all.


Karl and Billy hiked the last .9 mile to the top of Springer in the early morning moonlight. They stopped halfway up to crack open some beers, and then walked together slowly to the summit, where Cheryl and Senior were waiting for them.

“Karl’s a very happy man,” said Billy. “He’s so happy to be done. And I think he’s really proud of himself for finishing this. He should be, man. To go on when the record was out of reach takes a man with some big balls and a big will. But he did it.”

I talked to Billy a little before noon Eastern Time. Karl and the crew had all taken long naps and some good “real” showers and were headed out to find the “first best damn restaurant we can find.”


Official Start: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 7:08 a.m.

Official Finish: Monday, September 29, 2008, 4:20 a.m.

54 days 21 hours and 12 minutes.

Unofficially, Karl’s is the fourth fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

In order, the fastest finishers:

Andrew Thompson: 47 days 13 hours 31 minutes (2005)

Pete Palmer: 48 days 20 hours 11 minutes (1999)

David Horton: 52 days 9 hours (1991)

Karl Meltzer: 54 days 21 hours 12 minutes

Scott Grierson: 55 days 20 hours 34 minutes (1991)

Jennifer Pharr Davis: 57 days 8 hours 35 minutes (2008)


Adventure Running Article

September 23, 2008

I am honored to have been asked by the Northwest Mountaineering Journal (NWMJ) to write a feature article about my adventure running in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. It was interesting to write about myself. The article was just published so check it out!

From the journal website:

“The mission of the Northwest Mountaineering Journal is to be an edited, permanent, annual record of mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. The journal documents the events, people, history and spirit of climbing and other mountain sports in this region. The journal is published by volunteers from the mountaineering community in collaboration with The Mountaineers.”

Also, check out the rest of this year’s edition for great photography and awesome mountaineering trips. For more info and photos on my adventure running, visit my website.

Karl Meltzer – AT

September 10, 2008

Karl is on his 37th day on the Appalachian Trail. A few of the big questions have been answered:

Q: Will he break the record?
A: No. A very rainy New England summer meant wet feet which led to bad blisters which caused him to favor one leg which contributed to an Anterior Tibialus injury which necessitated a 4 day layoff to let it heal. This is not a soft record; one can no more take a 4 day break and still get it than one can stop and eat a watermelon during a Marathon and still win.

Q: Will he quit if he can’t get the record?
A: No again. Pre-attempt speculation arose on this point, because experienced multi-day runners knew how hard it would be to nail this the first try, and since Karl is a very successful ultrarunner, would he bag it and get out of sight at first sign of failure? Karl is soldiering on, putting his head down, respecting and honoring the sport and the Trail.

Q: Is Karl tough enough?
A: You’d better believe it.


Adirondack Park

September 4, 2008

When we need a change from our regular running trails we drive a few hours south to New York’s Adirondack State Park for a training weekend. This huge park has the largest hiking trail system in the United States, with 2,000 miles of trails. For a weekend adventure it is limitless. We spent a few days in early August there, and as usual, had a blast.


Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc

September 2, 2008

Jared Campbell completed the UTMB this weekend, and wrote the best Trip Report on this epic event I’ve seen.  Follow this link to the story on his personal blog!  And if you want the splits of all the runners, go here.

(Photo Jack Jewell)


“UTMB flies rather low on the “ultra running” radar to most folks in the U.S.A.  Most have heard of it, but few have done it.  I assume that the reason is due to the logistics and cost of doing a race in Europe.  Both are indeed valid reasons especially now given how weak the US dollar is and how relatively strong the Euro is.  I just bought a sandwich (nothing fancy, just a pre-made self-serve sandwich) at the Paris airport and it was about $14.  One thing that this race opened my eyes to was the breadth and depth of talented mountain runners in the world.  Many ultra-runners from the states tend to have this idea that we invented the sport of mountain running and that we also dominate it.  Not true at all and this race proved it to me.  The true beauty of the UTMB is that it is a melting pot that literally brings people from all over the world together, motivated by the common appreciation for beautiful mountains and pushing their physical limits.”