It took a 60-mile day right near the end, but Jennifer Pharr Davis has succeeded in setting the speed record for a thru-hike of the 2,180-mile-long Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The North Carolina woman, whose rise to thru-hiking fame grew immensely with the publication of a book recounting one of her A.T. hikes, ended her trek at 3:26 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.
Her elapsed time of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes for the north-to-south hike eclipsed the old record of 47 days, 13 hours, and 31 minutes set by Andrew Thompson in 2005. To achieve her record, Ms. Davis needed a 60-mile day on Friday, followed by a 36.2-mile day on Sunday.
Mrs. Davis had consistent trail support from legendary ultra-runner and former A.T. and Pacific Crest Trail speed record holder David Horton, as well as veteran A.T. expert Warren Doyle and Davis’ husband, Brew Davis. Brew Davis has been documenting the hike with blog posts and photos.
The woman's memoir, Becoming Odyssa, came out last fall. In it, she described her first thru-hike on the A.T. back in 2005.
While Mrs. Davis set the speed record for an end-to-end A.T. hike, she was supported along the way, opening the door for other speed hikers to vie for the fastest unsupported hike.