Karl Meltzer Unplugged
The straight scoop from the 100-mile master
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Photo by Matt Trappe
Meltzer en route to victory at Steamboat, Colorado's Run Rabbit Run 100-miler.
If a trail runner has not heard of Karl Meltzer, it would be like a football fan not knowing about Tom Brady, a golfing fan not knowing about Tiger Woods. Meltzer is The Man when it comes to running—no, WINNING—100-mile trail races.
Since he finished his first 100-miler, Utah’s vaunted Wasatch 100, in 1996, Meltzer, aka the Speedgoat, has racked up 34 wins. And at age 44, he is still putting the hurt to much younger and deeper-than-ever fields. Most recently he clinched victories at September’s inaugural Run Rabbit Run 100 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (where he collected a cool 11 grand in the process), and, three weeks later, the Grindstone 100 in Swoope, Virginia, where he broke his own 2009 course record by an hour and a half.
In 2010, Meltzer ran the 2064-mile Pony Express Trail, from Sacramento, California, to St. Joseph, Missouri, in 40 days, averaging 53 miles a day and ticking off 105 miles in 19 hours on the final day. And, in 2008, he attempted to break the existing 2176-mile Appalachian Trail record (47 days 13 hours 31 minutes, set by Andrew Thompson in 2005; that record was since broken, in 2011, by Jennifer Pharr Davis in 46 days 11 hours 20 minutes), but was hampered by injuries and ran the trail’s length from Maine to Georgia in 54 days 21 hours 12 minutes, for the fifth-fastest recorded time. Meltzer says he is scheming for a rematch with the AT.