On August 5th 2008, one of America’s best ultrarunners, Karl Meltzer, will be embarking on an incredible journey. The goal: to cover all 2,174 miles of the Appalachian TrailAppalachian Trail within 47 days. (The standing record is 47days 13hrs 31min)
It may seem sheer insanity, but if anyone can do it, Karl’s your man. He has won twenty-three 100mile races to date, setting several course records in the process, he holds the record for the most 100mile wins within a year at 6, and he is the Rocky Mountain Slam record holder: Hardrock + Leadville + Wasatch + Bear = 88hr 53min!
But back to his Appalachian Assault…
This August, Karl will be taking off from the summit of Mt. Kathadin, Maine, supported by a small team from Backcountry.com (who will also be in charge of all the IT gobbledygook) and will head south. The majority of the run he will be completely alone, but from time to time he will have some friends run along with him, NOT for the purpose of “pacing” or “muling” for him, but because “they get to run supported all day.”
“Okay,” you might be thinking, “that’s kind of cool, but has no bearing on me….” But that’s where you’d be wrong; the guys at Backcountry are turning Karl’s suffering into a game for the rest of us! (I think he got the worse end of that bargin :-) ) During his run, Karl will be wearing a SPOT Personal Locator Device, which will allow us to track him in real-time through WheresKarl.com (which, as we near go-time, will be transforming into Command Center for the run.) They’re going to turn it all into a contest in which we have a chance to win gear from Backcountry.com if we can guess where he’ll be finishing each day!
There’ll be a lot of stuff happening at WheresKarl aside from the contest; during his run there’ll be a blog, forums, videos, pictures and podcasts to keep us up to date on the very latest. In the meantime though, you can sign up for email updates on Karl’s training leading up to his Appalachian Assault, some video teasers of what’s to come, feature additions to the site, and occasional discounts from Backcountry.com and other sponsors.
I’ll be sure to post again just before the run commences, but for now, check out these related links…
Karl Meltzer's Site
Itinerary (subject to change)
La Sportiva Profile
Some other questions Karl was kind enough to answer…
What you do for rest?
“I have an RV for evening rest that sleeps 4... I'm pretty dialed with that… it has been provided by Backcountry.com, they are also part of crew and will be handling details in the IT department. As you know they are the title sponsor and more info (as it accumulates) will be on the whereskarl.com site as well as my own karlmeltzer.com site.” – KM
Do you have any aspirations of later taking on the Pacific Crest Trail, and/or the Continental Divide Trail?
“That is also a common question. At this point it's hard to say. If this goes well, then maybe the PCT is next, but who knows, I really want to win more 100s too as 23 is nowhere near enough to hold that record till I die...so you can see where I'm going with this. I plan to run at Mt. Blanc next year on fresh legs and no jetlag, that race is the primary goal for next year. I have to show those Euros I'm for real.... right?” –KM
Why do it?
“Why? To raise the bar. Challenging myself to run 100 miles is easy now, so 2175 miles should satisfy my need to go further. Also if I can have a good run at the record, it is possible that I could drop that record significantly. It could be a record that stands for a while. It's hard to say what will happen, but the challenge of not knowing is the real fun of it...not to mention as we promote to the media, it'll be fun for everyone to watch me suffer.” -KM