FKT: Jennifer Pharr-Davis - Long Trail (VT) - 2007-08-15

Gender
Female
Route Variation
Standard route
Style
Self-supported
Finish Date
Time (duration)
7d 15h 40m
Notes

The Long Trail has seen some fast self-supported trips. Self-supported means that you don't carry everything you need from the start, but you don't have dedicated, pre-arranged people helping you. You might put out stashes of supplies for yourself prior to the trip, or you might just use what's out there, such as stores, begging from other trail users, etc. Jennifer Pharr-Davis holds the fastest time for a self-supported trip on the Long Trail, 7d15h40m, in August 2007. Prior to Kimball, this was also the overall fastest time for a female. The following is taken from www.trainharder.com:

Pharr, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, completed the Appalachian Trail in 2005 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2006, but yearned to thru-hike a substantial trail in a sustained push. 'I wanted to immerse myself in the trail and give it my all,' says Pharr. 'Nothing could have taught me more as pushing my limits on the Long Trail.' Pharr’s unsupported journey began each day at 5 or 6 a.m. She averaged 30 miles daily, hiking until 8 or 9 p.m., snacking all day. She had mailed three shipments of food to towns along the trail to restock her food supply. Pharr’s 10-pound pack contained food and clothing, but no tent, as she slept under the stars, and when weather looked threatening, stayed in Green Mountain Club huts.

After blitzing through 45 miles the first day, Pharr awoke on the second morning to a swollen knee and ankle and later that day, suffered a bee sting on the same leg. Mildly allergic, she endured a painful and swollen leg for two days, icing it in streams wherever possible, doubting her ability to continue. But day four was a turning point. 'I had physically overcome a great deal of pain and was now ready for the challenges ahead,' she says.

After graduating from Alabama’s Samford University three-and-a-half years ago, Pharr works seasonally for six months at a North Carolinian summer camp for girls and then travels and hikes the remainder of the year. She took up ultrarunning shortly before her Long Trail attempt, running Virginia’s 2006 Promise Land 50K in 7:00:19 and the 2007 Holiday Lake 50K in 5:34:14. After her record-breaking hike, she also completed Lynchburg’s Mountain Masochist 50-miler in 9:41:21.

'I know that hiking strong, fast and smart can teach you specific lessons, and [being really fit] is a gift that will not always be available to me,' says Pharr. 'So I want to take advantage of it while I can.'

Pharr’s Long Trail sojourn profoundly changed her. 'I am not the same person that I had been at the start,' she says. 'Endurance hiking had taught me to unburden myself from physical gear and emotional ties that slowed me down in the past, and in turn focus on what is positive in my life.'

Prior to Pharr-Davis, the self-supported Long Trail record holder was probably Dr. Warren Doyle, who, in 1978, covered the distance in 8d13h25m.