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After just one week on the trail, Scott Jurek was forced to terminate his Appalachian Trail Fastest Known Time attempt.
About four days into his run, he developed a quad issue similar to the one that plagued him in 2015. Unlike his injury six years ago, he was unable to push through or walk it off.
After months of silence on social media, the trail runner from Boulder, Colorado, unveiled his summer plans for a record-setting run on the Appalachian Trail this week. As per AT tradition, he adopted a trail name — “Webwalker” — which was given to him by thru-hikers during his 2015 speed attempt.
As of late Tuesday, Jurek, 47, was already seven days and several hundred miles into a southbound trek on the trail, not far from the Maine-New Hampshire border. His goal was to complete the 2,193-mile trail from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia, in 40 days or fewer.
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That would have not only lowered his only personal record on the AT by six days, but it would also have surpassed Utah ultrarunner Karl Meltzer’s current supported Fastest Known Time of 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes set in 2016. Jurek set the northbound supported FKT (46 days, 6 hours, 7 minutes) six years ago, but Belgian ultrarunner Karel Sabbe lowered it by five days (41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes) with an amazing effort in 2018.
“I haven’t forgotten the suffering, but sometimes you have to go back to the hard places and do the hard things,” Jurek said via social media this week. “I still have so much to learn, and I still have more to give.”