Woman Hiker Breaks Appalachian Trail Record

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photo: Jennifer Pharr Davis on the trail. credit: Maureen Robinson

Jennifer Pharr Davis has hiked the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail twice before. She has even written a book about the long slog and its endless rewards and challenges.

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This summer, she hit the trail yet again with the goal of going even faster than her 2008 time of 57 days and some hours. (Most through-hikers take six months or more). But that's not all. She also wanted to beat the official record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, set by Andrew Thompson in 2005.

The New York Times caught up with her part-way through the trek with an encouraging report. This week, she succeeded in her record attempt, finishing in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes. That translates to an average of 47 miles a day.

Pharr Davis, a 28-year old writer, hiked up to 16 hours on most days, according to a post on The Adventure Blog. Her average speed was three miles an hour.

That pace is certainly not slow, especially considering the mountainous terrain, but it's not unattainably fast for most fit hikers. What's most impressive, though, is that she could sustain her speed for so many hours a day, day after day for a month and a half.

It's not Pharr Davis's first major hiking accomplishment. She has summited Mount Kilimanjaro, through-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and set a women's record on the Long Trail. She has also completed an Ironman, as well as multiple marathons and ultra-running races of 50 miles or more.

In a blog post after finishing the trek, Pharr Davis reporting sleeping a lot, eating pizza, doing literally nothing, and catching up on the news of the world — both hard news and gossipy stuff.

"I timed my finish so I could watch the season finale of The Bachelorette," she joked to her husband.

Sounds like a rest well-earned.

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