Scott Jurek has been a legend in the endurance running community for years. Not only has he won both the Badwater and the Western States Ultras, he has scored wins in numerous other major races as well. Additionally, back in 2010 he set a record for the 24-hour run, covering 165.7 miles during that time period. To say he has had a stellar career would be an understatement, and although he has started to hint at a possible retirement, he isn't quite ready to hang up his running shoes just yet. In fact, he has just set off on his greatest challenge of all – an attempt to set a new speed record for completing the Appalachian Trail end-to-end.
Last week, Jurek began what he hopes will be a record-breaking run on the AT. He's chasing the record set by Jennifer Pharr Davis back in 2011, when she managed to cover the entire length of the 2160 mile (3476 km) trail in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. In doing so, she managed to travel about 47 miles (75 km) per day. Jurek hopes to be closer to 50 in his pursuit of a new speed mark.
The ultrarunner launched his record bid on Spring Mountain in Georgia last week. He'll now head north toward Katahdin, Maine, where the trail officially ends. Along the way, he'll pass through 14 U.S. states, and face enough vertical gain to climb Everest 16 times over. He'll also be attempting to run the equivalent of two marathons per day for a month and a half. If everything goes as planned, he will wrap up the speed attempt on July 6, although he'll need to stay healthy and have the weather cooperate along the way. He is, of course, making this attempt in supported fashion, with a three-person team providing resupplies throughout the journey. Pharr Davis did the same thing on her record-setting trek as well.
You can follow Scott's efforts on his Facebook page and official website.