Last summer, Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy broke the former record for the Fastest Known Time (FKT) to complete the Appalachian Trail with a time of 45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes. Previously, the coveted record had been set by Scott Jurek (46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes) and later Karl Meltzer (45 days, 22 hours, 38 minutes) by more than 10 hours.
Come July 14, Harvey Sweetland Lewis will make his way across almost 2,200 miles in 14 states to Mount Katahdin, Maine in hopes of breaking McConaughy’s record. Currently, Lewis has already covered over 1,370 miles and 60 percent of the iconic trail since May 30. If he stays on track, he’ll be in good shape to set the new FKT in 45 days and a few hours.
After completing one of the toughest parts of the trail on June 24, Lewis shared, “When I was dealing my injuries last week, the Achilles pain, the tendinitis, the foot soreness. I was beginning to think these injuries would sideline me.” Lewis went onto to say that it has been his hardest ultra yet, but giving up wasn’t an option. “I didn’t quit because I knew there were people counting on me, these amazing friends and strangers have made all the difference. Now, I’m feeling 90 percent and ready for whatever’s in store,” said Lewis.
Over the past 20 years, Lewis has competed in more than 50 ultramarathons in 89 countries, typically opting for over 100-mile competitions. Previously, the Cincinnati high school teacher won the 24-Hour National Championship 241-mile ultramarathon in 2017 and the 135-mile Badwater ultramarathon prior to that in 2014.
For this attempt, Lewis is being supported by his 78-year-old dad and followed by a small film crew to track his progress. On his first day out, torrential downpour plagued his run but Lewis faced these obstacles with a positive outlook saying, “Pushing yourself to extreme limits, this is when the greatest growth happens.” To follow his journey, ROAD iD will be documenting his attempt with an interactive webpage, and those wanting to track his runs can follow his personal Instagram page or check his dedicated tag: #WheresHarvey.
“Harvey Lewis is a local legend, a friend of the Road ID family, and just an incredible human being. When we learned he was going for the FKT we knew his story needed to be shared,” said Edward Wimmer, Road ID Co-Founder and CEO. “We are humbled to share this experience with Harvey and his family, friends and sponsors. You’ll be hearing us cheering all the way from Kentucky as he reaches the end of the trail in Maine on July 14.”