[Editor’s Note: Today is the final day of Women’s History Month in 2021! For the last seven days of March, we’ve highlighted seven stories of women moving the needle forward in trail running and ultrarunning. Each article offers you a way to take action and elevate the women who make up our community. Let’s celebrate!]
Ten years ago this summer, Jennifer Pharr Davis set the women’s supported Appalachian Trail fastest known time. She traveled southbound on the 2,189-mile trail which spans the eastern United States between Maine to Georgia in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. For that incredible performance, she was named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year and UltraRunning Magazine’s Women’s Performance of the Year in 2011. Jennifer’s record still stands.
Jennifer continues to blaze her own path, both on and off the trail. This has included starting her own business, the Blue Ridge Hiking Company, which guides day hikes, backpacking trips, and generally helps people get their feet on the trail. She’s an author of eight books, including Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail, where she writes in memoir style about life, love, and just plain adventuring in the woods. She’s also a professional speaker, to businesses and organizations of all kinds. Her TedX talk shows her incredible public-speaking talent. She’s also a mom of two kids, each of whom she’s brought onto the trail since they were born. Her website is a great place to learn much more about all Jennifer does.
The theme that resonates through all of this is innovation, not only in carving a path for herself but for the women who come next on the trail. Jennifer’s work has created space for all of us trail and ultrarunning women to pursue our own innovative paths in athletics, authorship, entrepreneurship, and so much more. Trailblazing for one’s self and for all women who follow: that’s an idea we hope you’ll get behind! So, consider supporting Jennifer by purchasing one of her books, patronizing the Blue Ridge Hiking Company, or hiring her as a speaker for your organization!
Finally, here’s a super-fun throwback to our interview with Jennifer four days after her 2011 women’s supported Appalachian Trail fastest known time.