Timing is Everything!

Last weekend, the movie A Walk in the Woods was released in theaters throughout the country.  The movie is based upon the 1998 book by the same title by travel writer Bill Bryson that described his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail (2,189 miles) from Georgia to Maine.  A very entertaining movie that got me thinking  . . . perhaps I might want to add this activity to my “bucket list.”  Ironically enough, when I opened the October issue of Runner’s World magazine, there was a column (The Latest) that reported upon the new world record on traversing the Appalachian Trail — Scott Jurek (ultrarunner) completed the distance (including the 515,000 feet of elevation change) in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes!  Wow, I’m exhausted just thinking about this blistering pace.  Below I will compare the new numbers versus the old record holder’s numbers, but before I get to that, here are some “fun” statistics about Jurek’s trek:

  • Fifty days without shaving
  • 8 showers taken (longest stretch between showers: 38 days)
  • 26 bear sightings
  • 3 injuries (endured)
  • 12 ticks removed
  • 4,000 bars/gels consumed

Jurek set the record at 2:03 PM on July 12th.  Here’s the head-to-head comparison.

Statistic / New Record Holder / Old Record Holder
Name / Scott Jurek / Pharr Davis
Age at the time of the record / 41 / 28
Direction of travel / North-to-South / South-to-North
Average hours of sleep per day / 4.5 / 6
Average daily calorie burn / 6,500 / 6,000
Highest mileage in a day / 59 / 60
Warmest day / 95 degrees / 101 degrees
Pairs of shoes worn / 8 / 7
Average pace per mile / 18:30 / 20:00

Source: Runner’s World magazine, October 2015

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