Earth & Conservation

Beer, Candy Spur Runner's Appalachian Trail Record

Karl Meltzer ran the Appalachian Trail in record-breaking time consuming a gamer's diet.

Ultra-runner Karl Meltzer completed the entire Appalachian Trail on Sunday in a record-breaking 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes.

Meltzer, who is 48, accomplished this feat by consuming a lot of candy, bacon, beer, and ice cream. He started in Maine on Aug. 3, and celebrated his arrival in Georgia with more beer and a pepperoni pizza. Now that's my kind of athlete.

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The previous record for running the Appalachian Trail was set last year by ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, who did it in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes, the New York Times reported. Jurek, who is six years younger than Meltzer, battled sleep deprivation, knee pain, and a muscle tear along the way. He also maintained a vegan diet throughout.

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While I can't say how much of a role diet played in Meltzer's success, his intake was a far cry from Jurek's. He ate more like a crazed gamer, stuffing bacon in his pockets and downing beers before sleeping. During breaks he went for tart Spree candy and Three Musketeers chocolate bars. He consumed Lebanon bologna semi-dry sausage. He pounded numerous energy drinks daily.

My favorite anecdote about Meltzer's run from the New York Times article is how, when his support crew found him napping, they gave him a pint of ice cream. The guy needed it, though. This was punishing, exhausting work. Meltzer, who is a Red Bull athlete, burned more than 345,000 calories along the 2,190-mile-long trail.

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Meltzer pounded through 18 pairs of shoes over the length of the trail and averaged about 50 miles a day -- with one ridiculous stretch of 83 miles near the end.

"Food is fuel," Meltzer says on the Red Bull site, adding that he'd eat ice cream 24-7 if he could. The stats for Meltzer's run also say that he listened to 690 hours of the Grateful Dead. Whatever gets you through it, man.

via The New York Times