Joe and I set out once more to set an FKT on an epic trail, the 3500km long Appalachian Trail. Yet again, we had to beat Joe “Stringbean” ’s time. We learned so much from our mistakes on the Pacific Crest Trail that we could maintain a great flow from start to finish. This way, we ended up with a record that was over 4 days faster than Joe’s record, almost 5 days faster than Karl Meltzer and almost 6 days faster than Scott Jurek. It was an awesome adventure and the connection with the local community will be in our memories for a very long time.
Some fun moments on the PCT speed attempt wit Joren
Joe and I set out to do the impossible: as ultrarunning rookies we would go for the Pacific Crest Trail speed record. I would run the 4300km long trail from Mexico to Canada at over 81km per day and Joe would be my one-man-crew. We had huge struggles on the way, with heatstrokes, very bad blisters, extreme sleep deprivation and many missed meet-ups. We pushed on, however, and managed to stay on schedule nonetheless. We ended up breaking Joe “Stringbean” ’s record by 22 hours. With this record we also have our place in the Guinness Book of World Records as we had saved all our evidence and sent it to them. It took many months for both of us to recover from this adventure.
I was sure the only runner during the Marathon des Sables for whom it was a training run. I desperately needed desert experience to be prepared for the desert section of the Pacific Crest Trail that I was going to run that summer. I learned a lot during this beautiful week and managed to end with the elite 50 runners, at a nice 37th spot out of 1250 participants. This was a great preparation for the upcoming P.C.T., but it was scary too, as every day I was going to need to do the distance of the long stage of the Marathon des Sables. I pushed up my training volume and went to the US later that summer for the Pacific Crest Trail run.
The Coast to Coast was my introduction to trailrunning. I knew I preferred running on trails but I didn’t even know it had a name back then. During this preparation I was doing great at trail races but this was strange to me as I “lost” a lot of time training for the cycling and kayaking. After a splendid Mountain Run during race day I decided afterwards to leave the cycling and kayaking for now and to focus on solely running. Because I felt I was great at recovering fast and running long, my attention immediately went in the direction of the exciting world of Fastest Known Times.