Ultrarunning legend Karl Meltzer is three weeks into his attempt to break Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail record. The 48-year-old began his campaign in early August, hoping to best Jurek’s mark of 46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes set last year for the 2,189-mile trail that stretches from Mount Katahdin, Maine, to Springer Mountain, Georgia.
According to a recent crew report, the going has gotten tough for the runner known as “Speedgoat.” However, if anyone has the fortitude to get back on track it’s Meltzer, the winner of 57 ultra-distance races, including the daunting Hardrock 100 in Colorado for a record five times.
An update from the trail on Day 20 was described as, “an all-around rough day for Karl.” His support crew expressed concern as Meltzer, “started having pains in his shins early in the day which made it difficult to navigate and run. The pain also took a mental toll on Karl so Mike decided to join in on the trail for about eight miles. Mike mentioned that Karl’s knee kept buckling during their run—one can only imagine the pain that Karl must be in.”
The crew reported that they iced his legs a bit longer than usual and tended to both his shins and knee. Meltzer will also start wearing a wrap around his ankle. “Though the plan was to complete 50 miles on Day 20, Karl only completed 35.2 of those miles due to the challenges,” reads the report. “On a physical and mental journey of this magnitude, the gravity of knowing when to push yourself and when to hold back is immense…Karl will be up and at it again early in the morning as he heads further south into Pennsylvania.”