Belgian ultrarunner Karel Sabbe has successfully set a new supported FKT on the 3,500K Appalachian Trail that extends from Georgia all the way to Mount Katahdin on the Maine-New Brunswick border, taking more than four days off the previous record, set by Seattle’s Joe McConaughey last year. Sabbe’s new record is 41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes.
Sabbe, who appeared healthy and happy in various Instagram posts from along his route, also holds the Pacific Crest Trail speed record, which he also took from McConaughey. Sabbe becomes the first person to hold both records at the same time.
One notable difference between Sabbe’s effort and McConaughey’s, however, is that McConaughey’s record was achieved self-supported. This means he may have left or sent packages to himself along the route and picked up provisions where he could, but had no one crewing for him, as Sabbe did (his friend and brother-in-law, Joren Biebuyck).
Jurek’s 2016 record, set when he was 41, was marked by controversy for his and his crew’s champagne-fuelled celebration on Mount Katahdin upon his finish, which provoked the ire of park rangers. But it didn’t bother Brooks Running, which launched a special, limited-edition trail shoe to mark Jurek’s achievement.