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Beer-Drinking Ultrarunner Karl Meltzer, 48, Breaks Appalachian Trail Speed Record

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A new Appalachian Trail speed record has been set by ultrarunner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, who completed the trail which stretches 2,190 miles in just 44 days.

Meltzer’s ambitious stunt took two years to prepare for, both physically and logistically. The feat itself demanded over a month of traveling nearly 50 miles each and every day—during his trek he burned over 345,000 calories and walked through 20 pairs of shoes. A small support crew assisted Meltzer on the trail, following him in a van (where he also slept) and providing food, water, medical attention, and Red Bulls when needed. (The company sponsored him.)

Indeed, Meltzer was mostly concerned with consuming enough calories as opposed to caring about the quality of them, with the result it would not be uncommon for him in the evening to refuel with a burger, fries, and a beer, all to ensure he got his 8,000 to 10,000 daily calories.

Meltzer personally documented a good amount of the ordeal, allowing fans to follow him from the start of planning this mega-hike to its completion. “It’s been a long journey,” Meltzer said of the experience, adding that “it’s a very special time right now, definitely a stamp on my career.” Only one out of every four people to start hiking the Appalachian Trail actually finishes, and the normal duration of the hike is five to seven months, so his accomplishment is nothing short of extraordinary, particularly considering he’s 48. So next time you grab a beer, remember: you’re just doing what works for the Speedgoat.

Learn more about Meltzer’s challenges below.

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