Jason Dorgan holds the record, 22d6h, set April 2007.
In mid-April 2007, 42-year-old mechanical engineer Jason Dorgan traded in his CAD drawings for an 8-pound black Camelbak, which he carted for 11 hours a day for three weeks while running Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, completing the 1079-mile journey in 22 days 6 hours.
The Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation (IAPTF) documents thru-hikes on the trail, recognizing anyone who reports completing the entire span-including its interconnecting road segments-with the official “Thousand-Miler” designation. Only a handful of hikers are recorded as having covered the full distance to date.
Commencing at the Ice Age trailhead in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, Dorgan averaged nearly 48 miles a day, ending in Potowatomi Park, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Upon completing his passage on May 6, the Madison-based ultrarunner was greeted by a troupe of friends and family toting celebratory champagne and brownies.
Dorgan ran in high style, resting in hotels each night and meeting up with support-crew members Tom Bolt and Robert Wehner several times daily to refuel with pizza, hamburgers, jelly beans, gels, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and Ensure-to the tune of 6000 calories a day. Dorgan’s crew also heated up chicken noodle soup on the support vehicle’s engine block. Friends and fellow runners often accompanied the lanky runner for long segments of his run, occasionally bringing him milkshakes and other treats. He posted regular reports on his blog, which the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, Madison Capitol Times and other regional papers occasionally picked up.
In terms of sponsorship, Dorgan was pretty much on his own: a pair of shoe inserts from a Madison-based Fleet Feet store was his only freebie. His primary interest was in garnering awareness and monetary support for the Ice Age Trail, a landscape he has run and hiked through for much of his life, and for which he retains a deep connection. 'I thought the Ice Age Trail was worthy of more recognition and figured one way to do that was a thru-run. It took about two years from the idea bouncing around my brain before I was able to realize the accomplishment.'
Dorgan’s record-setting run raised $15,000 for the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation (IAPTF) which maintains the pathway and is converting 400 miles of the trail’s road segments to unpaved trail. 'Jason’s run was a terrific development for our organization,' explains the IAPTF’S Eric Sherman. 'Not only did it provide some very valuable financial support, it also generated a tremendous amount of publicity for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, both around Wisconsin and throughout the country.'
The final Ice Age Trail route, named one of eight National Scenic Trails by President Jimmy Carter, will extend 1200 miles along terminal glacial moraines and is a veritable showcase of glacial geological history. Speeding through this quietly glorious terrain with the persistence and determination of its former ice flows, was an affirming experience for the Madison runner. 'The run confirmed my belief that anything is possible, and that the human body is very resilient.'