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After 51 days of running, American runner breaks Appalachian Trail FKT

Liz Anjos covered the more than 3,500K between Georgia and Maine on the Appalachian Trail in 51 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes

Photo by: Instagram/pinkfeathers

After running for close to two full months, Liz Anjos of Portland, Ore., completed the 3,529K route along the Appalachian Trail between Georgia and Maine. Anjos started her journey on July 5 and crossed the finish line 51 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes later, setting a new women’s fastest known time (FKT) for the northbound running of the route. Her result is the second-fastest ever run on the trail, only behind fellow American Jennifer Pharr-Davis, who ran the southbound FKT of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes in 2011. In an Instagram post before her run, Anjos said this challenge was “a dream in the making for a long time,” and she has finally turned it into a reality. 

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From Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine, my nearly 52 days spent on the Appalachian Trail were like a hyperlapse of rising and falling suns, moons, stars, storms, calm, mountains, valleys… it wasn’t so much a daily endeavor, but more like a singular continuous stretch, moving ever forward. I felt so confident and prepared going into it, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what I was about to endure, other than doing “the thing” itself. I thought I knew, but I had no idea. I learned and grew in a way I never have. The trail taught me so much about myself and the good of other people. It taught me that while it’s impossible to control your circumstances, you can choose how you respond. Every early morning I would think, “I don’t know how I can possibly do this”, and every late evening I would think, “I can’t believe I just did that.” The trail brought out my strengths, my flaws, my little experience and vast inexperience. I don’t know if I truly ever let myself believe I would make it to Katahdin until I was literally climbing the final ascent. I think the only way I could wrap my head around what I was doing was staying in the moment and putting one foot in front of the other. I didn’t know what the future would bring, but I could keep walking. As a supported endeavor, this was truly a team effort with Warren, aka Jupiter. He was completely committed to the task and did everything to “help and not hinder.” I feel so thankful to have had him in my corner. The saying, “It takes a village…” is also very fitting as I had so much help from friends, family, and kind strangers all along the way. I was so happy to be able to share this journey with those it seemed to mean a great deal to- both in person and through Jupiter’s faithful updates. The AT is a very special place and it’s no surprise that so many people are completely captivated by the trail. I think it will take a while to unpack all I experienced. Most quiet moments throughout the day, my mind drifts to the trail. In my dreams every night, I am still hiking. My aching feet and healing toe are a reminder that it hasn’t been so long. I’m a changed person, and so grateful.

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More than a runner

Anjos ran at the collegiate level, representing Greenville College in Illinois. After graduating, she moved to Portland, where she started a career as a classical pianist that saw her tour around the world for five years. While globetrotting and performing, she still managed to train for marathons and other races.

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She owns a marathon PB of 2:51:34, which she ran at the Houston Marathon earlier this year, and she has qualified for the Boston Marathon 11 times. She founded the Rose City Track Club in Portland in 2017, and in 2019, she ran her first 100K at the Hellgate 100K in Virginia, where she was the fourth-place woman and 28th overall. Whether short or long distances or on the road, track or trails, Anjos has left a mark, and she added to her running resume with her new Appalachian Trail record

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Yesterday, August 27th, I completed the 2,193 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 51 days, 16 hours, and 30 minutes- the second fastest time ever for a woman behind @jenpharrdavis, who I have so much respect and admiration for (now more than ever!), and I set the women’s fastest known time going northbound on the trail. I was supported the entire way by AT guru/legend Warren Doyle (Jupiter), who met me over 400 times on windy mountain roads with the support vehicle (Pegasus) and worked around the clock to provide the best support possible. Special thanks to David Horton for joining our crew for the first crucial days, providing moral support throughout, and sending the “bat signal” for help from amazing folks all along the trail. He told me he was glad I beat his record time set in 1991 and I believe him. 🙂 I’m blown away by the support we received from family, friends, and hiking/running communities. I have so many people to thank and tons to share, but for now I’m getting some much needed rest. Excellent trail updates by Jupiter are on mercuryontheat.com if you’d like to see how it all went down. Trip report/thoughts to come… but for now, sleep! -Mercury

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The Appalachian Trail 

In her pre-run post in July, Anjos wrote that she would be supported by various friends and family members along the route, and she had an experienced Appalachian Trail-goer with her throughout the run. She finished the run on August 27, when she posted her result on Instagram and expressed her “respect and admiration” for Pharr-Davis, who owns the overall women’s FKT on the route.

“I felt so confident and prepared going into it, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what I was about to endure, other than doing ‘the thing’ itself,” Anjos wrote in another post-run report. “I thought I knew, but I had no idea.” She closed her run recap by saying the Appalachian Trail is “a very special place, and it’s no surprise that so many people are completely captivated by the trail.” Throughout her time on the run, Anjos averaged about 67K each day while making her way north from Georgia to Maine.