Ultrarunner 100 Miles Over Record Pace on the Appalachian Trail

Karel Sabbe, a Belgian ultrarunner/dentist (I will always enjoy learning the innocuous side gigs of ultrarunners), is looking to be the runner to break Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy’s fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail. Stringbean’s record-breaking, self-supported attempt, which broke both the supported and self-supported records last year, has already withstood an attempt this year. However, Sabbe is an experienced FKT setter and the current holder of the Pacific Crest Trail supported FKT, which he set in 2016 after breaking the record of none other than Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy. Since Stringbean’s attempt was self-supported, he will still hold the self-supported record regardless of Sabbe’s time.

Sabbe started his supported attempt on July 18 and after 37 days he sits (a very comfortable 134 miles) ahead of Stringbean’s pace. Stringbean’s current record is 45 days, 12 hours, and 15 minutes, so Sabbe has eight days to summit Katahdin as he enters Maine. Like Stringbean, he seems to have averaged 50+ mile days early on with the expectation that miles would start to slow as the terrain becomes more difficult. He ended Friday, Aug. 24, at mile 1,952.8, needing to run another 237 miles by Aug. 31. To do so he would only need to average about 30 miles a day, so it’s likely he will take more than a day off the record.

You can follow Sabbe’s attempt on his very in depth tracker here. It includes an interactive map that follows his progress along with where Stringbean and Scott Jurek (who is technically still the supported record holder since Stringbean is the self-supported record holder. Confused? Aren’t we all.) were on their attempts at this time. You can also follow his Instagram here, which includes lots of AT and running goodness, and sometimes dabbles in #hamburgerporn.

Featured Image courtesy of James Thomson

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