Jennifer Pharr-Davis Post-Appalachian Trail Record Interview

Over the past two months, one incredible woman took an incredible journey on foot. That woman, Jennifer Pharr-Davis, covered the 2,181 mile Appalachian Trail in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. No one, man or woman, has ever covered the trail more quickly. iRunFar’s Meghan Hicks sat down with Pharr-Davis just four days after the latter completed her journey at Springer Mountain, Georgia. Below is that interview.


[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 26 comments

  1. Sara

    Nice interview, and incredible record! I read Jennifer's book over the weekend and *highly* recommend it. I couldn't put it down, it was so good.

  2. Casseday

    Great interview and even better folks. Andrew Thompson's record was extremely stout. I don't think many people really understand just how difficult it would be to cover over 46-miles per day on the AT. Hour after hour, day after day; covering the miles becomes who you are. What folks like Andrew, Jenn, Horton, Pete Palmer, Meltzer, and others have done on the AT are truly amazing feats. There's no t-shirt or belt buckle at the end — just satisfaction and priceless memories.

  3. swampy

    I have heard Jen speak and had the opportunity to meet her and her husband Brew at Mountain Masochist. Not only is she an amazing athlete and gifted speaker, she is a truly humble person in spite of her accomplishments. Bravo to you Jen and to irunfar for the recognition. I highly recommend her book as well.

  4. Ben

    So the running coach says "Slow down! It's a marathon, not a sprint!" …to which the ultra runner says, "But a marathon IS a sprint!"

    Then there's JPD who just said that a 100 miler is a sprint! 8-O

    Amazing athlete and woman. Congratulations on a monumental achievement.

    Great interview Meghan.

  5. Sophie Speidel

    Thanks for the great interview! As I posted on my FB page, "two cool dirt chicks talk about Jen and her excellent adventure." No offense, Goat, but I loved the girl bonding. Thanks, Meghan!

  6. Christopher Norcross

    Great Run. I am sure The Appalachian Trail is about to get very busy. You are on the bus with Marshall and Dean. Outstanding!

  7. Matt P

    Meghan asked really interesting questions. The remark about a 100 as a sprint struck me too– but makes sense as a way of thinking about how Jennifer could budget her energy. Still, what she accomplished boggles the mind. Just the 15 mile AT section of JFK50 is enough for most of us. Amazing.

  8. Tony Mollica

    Nice interview Meghan!

    Congratulations Jennifer (and Brew) on an awesome accomplishment! It is definitely hard to understand how you could average so many miles for so many days in a row. Recover well!

  9. Andy

    Truly amazing and inspiring. Haven't had a chance to track down the book yet, and maybe some of this is discussed there, but I'm sure some of us would be interested in the logistical aspects of your odyssey, e.g., how many hours on the trail most days? what kind of gear? How much (if any) running vs. hiking? Longest and shortest days? etc. etc. Not that most of us will attempt this, but getting to the nitty gritty enhances the vicarious enjoyment. Kudos!

  10. Meghan

    Thanks to all of you who commented in support of Jen and her fantastic record, as well as this interview!

    Some notes:

    1. I, too, think her comparison of a 100-mile race to a sprint is hilarious. Nothing like 46+ days on a trail to garner that perspective. :)

    2. As Christopher pointed out, I'm pretty certain that her accomplishment and all this news about it is going to inspire a record attempt or two on the AT next year. That will also be fun to watch.

    3. Andy, Jen's husband, Brew, kept a really nice blog that documented Jen's day-to-day existence on this summer's record outing here, http://jenniferpharrdavis.tumblr.com/. He talks about all the nitty gritty stuff, how long she was on trail every day, how many miles she covered, all the crazy stuff on which she dined, etc. Fascinating read!

    Adventure on, friends!

  11. Fred E. Smit

    According to what I heard her say in PBS, Her husband lugged the supplies to varies

    way points and met her there .. so she was able to travel light. In other words, she

    didn't have to do it solely on her own. I don't know if other attempts were done in the same manner.

  12. Jeff Wise

    That is just an amazing accomplishment and it's really a testament that we really can do anything we want. I would have liked to know what she ate and drank during those 46 days.

  13. Meghan

    Fred, thanks for the note.

    In the long trail record culture, there are usually three record designations, for records that are unsupported, self-supported, and supported. Jennifer set the supported record, meaning that her husband and other friends/family crewed her along the way. She did all the walking on her own, of course. ;) So, to answer your question, yes, other supported attempts have been done in the way that she described.

    Check out this link, http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/index.cgi?b… which explains the differences in the different kinds of records.

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