Posts Tagged ‘Appalachian Trail’

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)


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.


Where’s Karl?

August 21, 2008

Karl Meltzer has let go of his AT Record attempt (for now) and is waiting for his injured shin to heal before continuing. I received this update from him this morning:

Well Buzz we have some issues. My Tendentious is coming around, and I hope to get back on the trail by Saturday or Sunday. This (trip) really is intense, nothing like going every day all day. It’s my next new step into the world of adventure running. I’m chalking this one up to a learning experience and it’s important to get it done no matter how long it takes, mostly to learn logistics for the 2009 assault number 2. I’m excited to start over next year already.

AT Record – Day 7

August 11, 2008


Here’s the update at Day 7 of Karl’s attempt to break the AT record. 

The going has been tough.  A summer of torrential rain has left the trails sloppy and slow, and it’s been raining on them since they started.  A veteran New Englander told me:  “2008 is going to be a very tough year to break any record out here”.
However, Karl is in good spirits, continues to move well, and has great support.  His current crew chief, Marit from told me:
“Yesterday was the hardest day so far.  The boys got 47 miles, with almost 14,000′ of vert, and the last 13 miles were in a torrential downpour.  They got in the miles but it took 2.5 hours longer than expected.  The conditions are super horrible.  Last night was the first night Karl couldn’t smile. He’s looking gnarly.  He has on huge blister, as his feet haven’t been dry for 7 days.”
“Matt is going to stay with him thru Maine.  It’s better to have someone out there.  They are using every second of daylight, like you suggested.”
They are only 18 miles behind schedule, all from Day 4 when they didn’t take a ferry across the Kennebunk River; this is nothing considering the conditions, and Karl’s timetable thru the White Mountains was quick to begin with.  If the conditions dry out further south, 18 miles will not be a problem.
The website is state-of-the-art, and the excellent blog Marit is doing includes photos, video, and more.
Karl is carrying a SPOT locater beacon that pings every 10 minutes, and is then plotted on the same website.  To find the tracking map, click “On the Trail” from the menu on the bottom left.  The forest cover is quite dense, which may have explained why the early days were not tracking well; the company sent the crew a new unit via Overnight Delivery last Thursday to make sure the problem wasn’t with the device.
A very good local story, worth reading, can be found here. 

The best background/overview of the AT Record attempt is found here.

Karl Meltzer live online

July 24, 2008

Yes,  July 29, from 4 – 5 pm MST, this Post hosted a live online chat with Karl Meltzer.  

Karl is going for the renowned Appalachian Trail Record, starting Aug 5.  For very thorough background on this project, including interviews with David Horton, Flyin’ Brian, and Andrew Thompson, check out this website.

Check out a Karl video here:

How the Chat works: you post a question (click “Comments” at the bottom of this Post).  Karl does the same in reply to you.  Read Comments below for the very informed questions and his responses.

Karl is now driving the RV across the country, and out of touch until he arrives in Maine in 3 days.