Completing the trek self-supported, Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy set a new fastest-known time (FKT) on the Appalachian Trail in early September.
McConaughy, a former NCAA Division One varsity runner with Boston College, completed the 3,510K trek between Georgia and Maine in 45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes. The FKT betters Karl Meltzer‘s supported (which means he ran with a crew) effort of 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes, from 2016. The previous fastest-known time for a self-supported completion of the Appalachian Trail was 54 days, by Heather Anderson, according to Gear Junkie.
He began the record-attempt on July 17 at 6:31 a.m. EDT.
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According to the Washington Post, McConaughy carried a 25 lb. pack on his back. He started at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finished at Mount Katahdin, Maine.
“I am in shock and pain, joyful and thankful, humbled and tired, in disbelief and exhilaration,” the 26-year-old from Seattle wrote in an Instagram post. “I will be forever perplexed and appreciative of what the wilderness brings out in myself and others.”
He’s no stranger to setting records on the trails. The American also set a supported FKT on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon in 2015.
According to his Instagram post, his final push consisted of 37 consecutive hours covering 177K. There’s no governing body to verify or legitimize FKTs. Rather, members of the community verify information through various protocol including GPS data.