Route: Appalachian Trail

Maine, US
New Hampshire, US
Vermont, US
Massachusetts, US
Connecticut, US
New York, US
New Jersey, US
Maryland, US
Pennsylvania, US
Virginia, US
North Carolina, US
Georgia, US
Tennessee, US
2,189 mi
Vertical Gain
465,000 ft

"I found things in the woods that I didn’t know I was looking for..." - Jennifer Pharr Davis
"The trail has a way of answering the questions you most need answered, even if you are afraid to ask." - Heather Anderson

ADMIN NOTE: This is a Premier Route - read the Guidelines.  You must announce your attempt in advance, and track your attempt diligently; live-tracking is strongly recommended for Premier Routes.

It has a solid history in the Fastest Known Time Of the Year Awards:

  • 2016: Karl Meltzer, #3 Male
  • 2017: Joe McConaughy, #1 Male
  • 2018: Karel Sabbe, #1 Male

The Appalachian Trail (AT) runs 2,189 (in 2015) miles from Georgia to Maine. Along with the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, it is one of the "Big 3" National Scenic Trails. Like many of these trails, the route has changed slightly over the years, and there has been a general tendency for the trail to become longer over time as reroutes are made to take the route off of roads.

Speed records on the AT are known going back to the first true thru-hike by Earl Shaffer in 124 days in 1948 (south to north). In 1960, Lochlen Gregory and Owen F. Allen completed the trail in 99 days (south to north), a time that was matched by Earl Shaffer in 1965 (north to south this time). Then, in 1970, Branley Owen dropped the AT record all the way down to 73 days, using good backpacker style which we call "self supported". Warren Doyle lowered the overall AT record to 66 days, supported at road crossings by his father during much of the hike. This supported style took hold after Doyle's accomplishment, and in 1978 John Avery shaved 9 hours off the FKT, hiking and running for 65 days, and receiving support throughout the trip. These trips established stylistic norms and also guidelines for FKT aspirants. These early FKTs were finally blown away by Ward Leonard's 60.5 thru-hike (self-supported) in 1990 (see below). [I am indebted to Jennifer Pharr Davis for this section. Her forthcoming book The Pursuit of Endurance has very much more detail on these early records and personalities.]

"Grandma" Emma Gatewood was the first woman to thru-hike the AT alone. Here is what Wikipedia says about Gatewood's first AT thru-hike: In 1955, at the age of 67, Gatewood told her children (who were by then adults) that she was going for a walk. They did not ask where or for how long, as they knew she was resilient and would take care of herself. About 5 years earlier, Gatewood read an article in National Geographic about the AT and thought "it would be a nice lark," though in retrospect considering the difficulty she added "It wasn't." The magazine gave her the impression of easy walks and clean cabins at the end of each day's walk. Thus she took little in the way of outdoor gear. She wore Keds sneakers and carried an army blanket, a raincoat, and a plastic shower curtain in a homemade denim bag slung over one shoulder. She would later say "For some fool reason, they always lead you right up over the biggest rock to the top of the biggest mountain they can find." A bestselling book about Gatewood was published in 2014.

My motto is, "Carry as little as possible. But choose that little with care." - Earl Shaffer, first AT thru-hiker

Most people today are pantywaist. Exercise is good for you. - Emma Gatewood, first solo female AT thru-hiker (1955)

"Every morning it's wonderful, every evening I want to quit." - Chris Bakwin (AT hiker, 2017)


Here's a rough timeline of speed trips.  (Women in italics.)

Earl Shaffer 1948   self supported, northbound 124d
Emma Gatewood 1955 self supported, northbound 146d
Lochlen Gregory & Owen Allen 1960 self supported, northbound 99d
Earl Shaffer 1965 self supported, southbound 99d
Branley Owen 1970 self supported, ? 73d
Warren Doyle ? supported, ? 66d
John Avery 1978 supported, ? 65d
Ward Leonard 1990 self supported, ? 60.5d
David Horton 1991 supported, northbound 52d9h42m
Jenny Jardine 1993 self supported, accompanied 87d
Pete Palmer 1999 supported, northbound 48d20h11m
Andrew Thompson 2005 supported, southbound 47d13h31m
Jennifer Pharr Davis 2008 supported, southbound 57d8h38m
Jennifer Pharr Davis 2011 supported, southbound 46d11h20m
Elizabeth Thomas 2011 self supported, northbound 80d13h11m
Matt Kirk 2013 self supported, southbound 58d9h40m
Heather Anderson 2015 self supported, southbound 54d7h48m
Scott Jurek 2015 supported, northbound 46d8h7m
Karl Meltzer 2016 supported, southbound 45d22h38m
Dan "Knotts" Binde 2017 self supported, northbound 53d22h57m
Joe "Stringbean" McConaughy 2017 self supported, northbound 45d12h15m
Joey Campanelli 2017 self supported, southbound 48d23h48m



Another AT record that has been pursued a few times is the most miles that can be run on the AT in 24 hours. In March 2004 Matt Kirk has run 99 miles through Shenandoah National Park, beating David Horton's previous record of 91 miles. Scott Brockmeier started the attempt with Matt, but was unable to complete the traverse.

GPS Track


Going for overall FKT (with assistance) on the AT leaving at first light, 5:56am from Springer Mountain on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018. Challenging overall FKT as well as fastest assisted and fastest assisted northbound. Using a Garmin Inreach with tracking updates every 10 minutes. View map at Glad to have company for anyone interested in running. Thanks!

Going for overall FKT (with assistance) on the AT leaving at first light, 5:56am from Springer Mountain on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018. Challenging overall FKT as well as fastest assisted and fastest assisted northbound. Using a Garmin Inreach with tracking updates every 10 minutes. View map at Glad to have company for anyone interested in running. Thanks!

Harvey Lewis

Cincinnati, Ohio 

Love to have you follow on Facebook - Harvey Lewis Ultrarunner and Instagram Harvey Lewis Ultrarunner

Hi there! Going for the self-supported record of the AT, starting at first light on June 16th. I'll be going Northbound (back to my beautiful home state, Maine)! I'll be following the guidelines and procedures set before me by Stringbean and Anish. Anyone is welcome to follow along with my journey on my IG, and while I would love all the support in your heart, please do not offer any assistance during my attempt, so I can follow along with proper self-supported decorum. Cheers! Clare "Star" Olson Olympia, Washington

Admin note:  Clare stopped after about 9 days. Instagram:  "After a couple hours It stopped raining. I had hoped I’d stop being miserable after it stopped raining, but that wasn’t the case. I felt so lonely. I wanted someone else there to share everything with, good and bad. The miles ticked by easily and I found i cared less and less. My brain went in loops and my heart pouted in the corner. “I promise we’ll never have to hike again after we reach Kahtahdin,” I whispered to myself."

Harvey Lewis' FKT attempt is also being discussed here:… As best I can tell, at the end of Day 14 he is 17 (ish) miles behind Stringbean's pace?

Update on 6/17:  Harvey started falling behind Stringbean's pace on Day 14, and has continued to lose ground each day since.  27 miles behind end of Day 18, but coming closer to matching Stringbean's daily miles again.

Update on 7/19:  Harvey finished the AT today in 49d15h or so, the 8th fastest time to date.

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From Eric Strumpf:

Greetings! I am formally announcing my intent to challenge the self-supported FKT for the Appalachian Trail. My hike will begin at Mt. Katahdin in Maine on June 27th and I will continue southbound (SOBO) until I reach Springer Mountain in Georgia. The record is currently held by Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy (@thestring.bean) who finished the 2,191 miles in 45d 12h 15m last August. He did a phenomenal job and leaves a daunting legacy. I am dedicating this hike to Marine Sergeant Jacob “Jake” Pope who lost his left leg to an IED while serving in Afghanistan. He will move into his adapted home built by Homes for Our Troops next week. I am also hoping to raise awareness and funding for this great organization. If you feel so moved, please contribute at:

You can follow my journey using the following link and PW: / ATFKT2018

I will provide occasional updates via Instagram but will focus primarily on moving down the trail. There is a rich history of hard-charging endurance athletes and AT ambassadors who have advanced this challenge to what it is today. It is with great respect and humility that I make this attempt. Best wishes to all!

Admin note:  Eric's InReach stopped sending signals in the morning of July 1.  It appears that his attempt is over.

Hi all, I'm now about one week before starting my speed record attempt on the A.T. and as it's getting really busy with last-hand preparations I'm announcing it officially here now. 

I'm Karel Sabbe from Belgium and I'm a 28 year old hiker / ultrarunner. I learned a lot about running a long-distance hiking trail by setting the F.K.T. on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016, which is why I take on this new challenge and why I believe there's a possibility that I'll make it. I also have long-distance hiking experience from hiking New Zealands Te Araroa Trail, the Pyrenean High Route, the Sierra High Route, Corsica's GR-20, .. I also ran the Marathon des Sables in 2016 during which I learned a lot about running in heat and how to hydrate in those conditions.

My friend and brother-in-law Joren Biebuyck will be there to support me all the way again (he's a physiotherapist which is very helpful during this record attempt) and he also has a lot of crewing experience from being there the entire PCT which is way more remote and harder to access for crews. 

In addition I'm having some friends coming over to run sections with me (of 1-3 weeks), and my wife Emma will be there during the entire month of August. 

I'm going for the overall record set by Joe McConaughy last year, and I've been in touch with him a lot discussing my record attempt. He'll probably join us for a weekend as well which would be awesome. Jennifer Pharr Davis, Scott and Karl have all been really helpful as well with advice - that is one of the nice things about this FKT community.

Like my PCT run I will also verify this record as a Guinness World Record attempt, because it is nice to go for an official world record and to have a neutral and professional instance analyze all my data and claims. After my PCT run they asked very detailed questions like "Why were you running at 40mph on day 29 in the evening?" (I forgot to switch off my Strava and was in the car to go to a pizza place near the trail). 

I will start on Springer Mountain, on the 18th of July and will be going northbound. It will be very hot but Joe has proven that it is possible to do it at this time of year. Other times of the year have other hazards so I'm feeling OK with what is coming and will try to adapt and overcome as things come up to us (heat waves, storms, etc.)

Like during my PCT run I will use a tracker that updates my location every 4 minutes. In addition I will track everything on Strava and will upload to Strava when cell service allows. The live-tracking website will be . We'll try to include Joe's GPS data on this site so you can see Joe moving on the map as well so people can have an idea of how I'm doing compared to the current record. We'll try to add Scott's data as well but he hasn't been able to extract it yet from his DeLorme device/website. 

Updates will come on the Facebook page Karel Sabbe Ultrarunning. 

The reason of the attempt is pretty simple: I love running and I love adventures. It's a unique opportunity to be able to run a trail like this with a crew, and I feel privileged to be able to do it. I don't know the Appalachian Trail which is a weakness but also a strength as I'm very curious to what's coming and to the scenery that I'll run through. I think the A.T. is a unique trail and I look forward to hike/run it. I also have the possibility of being record holder of both A.T. and P.C.T. at the same time which would be a first (David Horton and Joe McConaughy have held both records but not a the same time I think). 

Hoping for a safe and unforgettable experience! 

Wish me luck,


Hi I (Kristian Morgan) crewed/paced/muled for Karel Sabbe over a 15 day period during his successful attempt. I would like to say I have learned so much from Karel and his amazing strength as a runner. Karel ran the uphills where other runners would have walked and he stayed positive throughout the entire time I was present on the AT. Thank you Karel for the great company. If anyone would like to become a run coaching client of mine or ask any questions just check out my website here.

I suggested a route addition of the NY section of the AT but it has not been added yet, so I'm announcing my intention to set the FKT here (also an only known time).  

I, Justin Schott, will attempt to set an FKT for the NY section of the Appalachian Trail (89.8 miles according to the AT Distance Calculator) from Wednesday, 6/7/19 – Thursday, 6/8/19.  I will be heading southbound and using Gaia GPS to track my progress.  The attempt will be unsupported; I'm aiming for 21-24 hours. Zack Price previously attempted this route supported on 7/1/17 but dropped at mile 45; he had also set FKTs for the NJ and CT sections of the AT. 

I’ll be starting in early to mid-afternoon on Wednesday – I’m flying in from Detroit in the morning and taking public transit and Lyft to the Wing Road NY-CT state line from White Plains, and taking transit home afterward from the Stateline parking lot in NJ.  I'm tying the adventure in with a weekend visit to friends - wish me luck!

Greetings FKT community. We, John L. Senter and Denton L. Akers Jr, are formally announcing a fastest known time attempt northbound on the Appalachian Trail. This attempt will be done as a team and self supported. Our campaign will begin from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain in the predawn hours on Sunday June 9th. Progress will be tracked with a Garmin Inreach Explorer every 10 minutes and can be found at        
This adventure will be conducted with great reverence to the Appalachian Trail and especially those that have attempted a FKT there. The accomplishments and contributions from Heather Anderson, Scott Jurek, Joe McConaughy, Karl Meltzer, Jennifer Pharr-Davis, and Karel Sabbe provide tremendous inspiration. Many thanks to everyone who contributes their time to the FKT website and Buzz's podcast. I've learned about so many new routes that I didn't know exist and can't wait to explore them. This site is an awesome resource to remind us all to get back to nature and experience everything that comes along with it.
Keep on keeping on.
John L. (Cactus Jack) Senter and
Denton L. (Whiskey Tango) Akers Jr

My name is Kristian Morgan, I am officially announcing my attempt to go for the supported north bound FKT on the Appalachian Trail. Live Tracking can found as a link on my website or directly here I spent 15 days as pacer and crew with Karel Sabbe during his successful FKT last year. Karel thank you for the inspiration you inspired in me and for setting the standard so high. Preparation has gone well and I am very excited to be so close to the start of this FKT attempt. I will start July 1st at 4am. Thank you to all those who have been helping me in preparation for this attempt, I do not see this as my attempt but OUR attempt.

Greetings fellow hikers and runners. I’m posting today to announce my intention to start an attempt at the speed record for the AT.

My name is Henry Wakley from McCoy, VA. I will be    hiking/running the trail self supported Southbound and am aiming to start on the 23rd or 24th of July. I am finalizing some logistics and am already up in Maine not far from Katahdin. 

I will be tracking my attempt with an InReach device that I have given to the administrators of the website and a few other family and friends. Through my InReach I can also message my father and he will update these messages to Twitter. I will try to put out updates as often as batteries and time permits via the account @followforrest. 

I’m very thankful to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get started. 

Hello, my name is Liz Anjos. On July 7th, beginning from the southern terminus on Springer Mountain, I’m attempting a supported FKT on the Appalachian Trail. Hiking the AT has been a dream in the making for a long time, and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to now realize that dream. My thru-hike will be supported by educator and hiker Warren Doyle, who set an endurance record on the trail in 1973 and has set an informal record for hiking the entire trail the most times (18). I will also be supported along the way by my family in Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as friends I have met through the amazing hiking and trail running communities in the Eastern US.

The women’s record stands at 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes by Jennifer Pharr Davis supported by Brew Davis, and the overall record stands at 41 days, 7 hours, and 39 minutes by Karel Sabbe supported by Joren Biebuyck. Their achievements, and those of Heather Anderson and Joe McConaughy (self-supported record holders), Scott Jurek, Karl Meltzer, Andrew Thompson, Pete Palmer, David Horton, and the list goes on, are not only feats of extraordinary athleticism, but a testament to the power of the mind, planning, strategy, the ability to roll with the punches, and above all… relentless forward motion.

I would like to address that this thru-hike is happening in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. My crew and I are taking every measure to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 by getting tested, wearing masks as required indoors or when keeping a distance of 6ft isn’t possible, minimizing resupplies and arranging contactless delivery when possible, and providing our own shelters and avoiding places where hikers congregate. The entire trail from Georgia to Maine is open for use, though some restrictions for out-of-state visitors remain in the northern-most states; this may mean leaving the trail to get tested before entering certain states, contacting state health departments regarding this particular circumstance and following their guidance, and/or making some difficult decisions if the situation gets worse over the next month. My crew and I will post trail updates from my blog and I won’t be posting on social media during the hike, as to not take up space or glorify traveling and thru-hiking at this time. My live tracking info has been shared privately with the site runners at Fastest Known Time. While this is a personal journey at its core, I want to be transparent about my progress in the record attempt.

Trail updates and more info can be found at

Lastly... my trail name Mercury is inspired by the Roman deity, the wing- and fleet-footed messenger of the gods. In embarking on and sharing about this journey, I would like to deliver my own message of perseverance and hope.


My name is  Ella Bredthauer and I am going for the self-supported, female fkt northbound on the Appalachian Trail. 

This will be my third time thruhiking the AT, once solo in my early 20’s, again my my spouse in my early 40’s, and now full circle on my own again.  My trail name is the Orange Pig, and hopefully this time around, pigs can fly ;)

I am primarily using mail drops for resupply to limit my time in towns and in contact with others.  You can follow my attempt on Instagram @ellabredthauer.  I am keeping my tracking private for safety reasons.  

As of Thursday, May 6 at midday,  I am ending my FKT attempt.  I made it 673 miles in 22.5 days and am proud of this accomplishment.  Unfortunately, after multiple days of ankle and lower leg tendon pain,  I decided to leave the trail to seek medical attention as well as time for my middle-aged body to rest and heal. I am grateful for every moment I had on the trail and feel mentally and spiritually renewed and refreshed despite of physical injuries.  The AT is truly a magical place and always delivers what we need though often in a means we did not expect. I head home to Santa Fe with a full heart and head full of new trails and routes to try. 

My name is Kristian Morgan. The crew and I will be going for our second attempt for the FKT on the Appalachian trail in early July 2021, the exact start date will depend on weather. Our attempt will be supported and Northbound.

The crew consist of...

Crew Chief/driver: "Gunsection"

Crew/driver: "Iceman"

Crew: "Campfire" aka "Girl on Fire"

Crew/pacer: "Black Beard"

During the 2018 Appalachian trail FKT I paced Karel Sabbe from day 12 to day 26 of the attempt (15 days total). In this time I became inspired that one day I would attempt my own supported FKT on the AT.

2019 on the 1st of July I set out from Springer Mountain for my own supported FKT attempt only to get a handful of days into it until one of the crew had to leave the trail, leaving only two of us and therefore ending our attempt. 

In 2020 we were not able to travel to the USA due to the covid pandemic. We stayed in the UK and went about setting a new supported FKT on Britain's longest national trail, the 630 mile South-West coast path (SWCP). The SWCP for us was a stepping stone towards our future AT attempt and gave us much needed experience.

I will share our FKT attempt via the links below...




At this point I have done all the planning, training (physical and mental) and all I can do now is trust that I am ready. The crew trust me and I trust the crew.

Admin note:  

Concerning US restrictions on travel due to COVID, Kristian worked hard at obtaining official permission to travel to the US and was successful; his travel is legal.


Other UK athletes have recently received permission to travel to the US, including Beth Pascall, (Winner of the 2020 Fastest Known Time of the Year award Euro), a few days ago ran the second-fastest Women's time in history to win the WS100 and finish 7th overall!  (And note the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th place Women came from overseas). 


My name is Corey Nunlist and my friend Kyler and I are attempting a supported northbound FKT on the Appalachian Trail starting tomorrow morning.  I'm carrying an inreach for live tracking purposes, and a Garmin watch for backup and to see what time it is and stuff. I've shared the inreach link with a number of people, and will post my progress publicly, but on a delay, at  This website is a work in progress.

Peace, love, and summer adventures,


Hi All,

Kyler and I are still headed north, doing some big days and some not so big, and my AT hike is about to get a little wonky, so I've encouraged Peter to stop tracking it and unlist it.  Occasional updates, along with daily mileage, will still be posted on the website above, along with a more thorough recap at the end of it all (likely late August), so check that if you're interested.

A quick recap of the actual FKT attempt: things were going fairly well for the first 10 days.  Day 11 was a big hard day, and ended with my legs generally feeling "it."  On the morning of day 12, "it" started concentrating "itself" into my left quad.  We completed the day as planned, but a few miles into day 13, it quickly turned into a pain that I wasn't willing to, or couldn't, walk through all day, so I stopped.  The FKT was out at that point, along with early notions of turning it around for 2nd.  I was confident "it" and I would get better and stronger, along the lines of a traditional thru-hike, and Kyler was still game, so we're still at it.

We've learned a lot.  My biggest one is that sleep is important, and you have to find a way to do it well.  Kyler's biggest one is consistency and thoroughness in tasks.  Special thanks to Kyler for being Kyler, and for giving an Appalachian-born trail runner his dream vacation.