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Appalachian Trail Runner Sets Out to Break Her Own Record

EC CommunityJames Hipkiss

In 2008, a hiking newbie, Jennifer Pharr Davis hit the Appalachian Trail for the first time and ended up setting a new women's thru-hiking record. Next week Jennifer will attempt to break that record by hiking an ambitious 46miles a day over the 2200 mile course. Jennifer's current record for the hike is 57 days, 8 hours and 35 minutes, her pace averaged at about 38 miles per day.

She plans to beat this record by hiking for longer each day and continuing into the night. Jennifer discusses her trail strategy, training, specially designed trail running shoes and about how she may have figured out how to be a professional thru-hiker on the Nat Geo Blog page. Jennifer: "Some people learn to swim just by jumping off the dock. That's pretty much how I learned to hike. Making a lot of mistakes the first time forced me to improve very quickly so I wouldn't sink. Simply having a better idea of what to expect makes a world of difference. While each trail experience is new and organic, I now know generally what kind of animals, people, and terrain I'll run into. So, I can be more prepared. However, this time around there are new challenges. The first time, I took my time, and left myself open to what the trail threw at me. This time, I?m trying to achieve a time goal. So, I need to remember to keep focused and relaxed and not let the weight of the project add too much stress. The trail doesn't like stress! Finally, I'm different from who I was the last two times I hiked the AT. I've grown so much as a person. My experiences as a thru-hiker helped develop me into who I am today, and I've added new post-trail experiences to the development. I'm a wife now. I'm an author, a public speaker, and a business owner. So, in many ways, the entire third experience on the AT will be different because of my personal growth.