PHOTO CREDIT MELISSA DOBBINS
Jennifer Pharr Davis Sets Sights on Appalachian Trail’s Overall Speed Record
By Hilary Hutcheson
Jennifer Pharr Davis, current holder of the Women’s Speed Record for the fastest thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, is back on the Appalachian Trail, hoping to make history by hiking away with the overall speed record.
Davis began her hike in June from Mount Katahdin, Maine headed towards Springer Mountain, Georgia. Her goal is to hike the entire 2,181-mile faster than the current overall speed record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes.
To break the record, Davis will hike an average of 47 miles a day, camping along the trail. She will have trail support from legendary ultra-runner and former AT and Pacific Crest Trail speed record holder David Horton, as well as veteran AT expert Warren Doyle and Davis’ husband, Brew Davis. Her record-breaking fastpacking career and influence in the industry is remarkable, given that she picked up the sport just six years ago.
“Whenever I’m not on a trail, I am being pulled back to it. Hiking is not only something I enjoy, it’s my passion, my career and my calling,” says Jennifer Pharr Davis. “It’s so fulfilling that I have people I love supporting this next speed challenge. I hope to elevate awareness of the sport and the outdoors, and to get more people involved in sharing a similar passion.”
Jennifer has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long-distance trails and has trekked on six continents. She has also penned her memoir, Becoming Odyssa, where she shares an intimate look at how thru hiking can help shape a person in many ways. The book, released in the fall of 2010, details how Davis, as an inexperienced hiker fresh out of college, tackled a steep learning curve on the Appalachian Trail, learning about herself and falling in love with the sport along the way.
You can check out Jennifer’s progress on her blog at www.jenniferpharrdavis.tumblr.com/