Hiker Jam #4: Karl Meltzer on Ultrarunning and Breaking the Appalachian Trail Record

Updated on January 19, 2021


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Karl Meltzer, aka 'the worlds most accomplished ultrarunner', talks about how he got started ultrarunning. We dive deep into his crazy Appalachian Trail fastest known time record - how he planned the 45 day record breaking run, his other failed attempts, injuries, diet, pace, logistics, crew, and more.

Karl talks about how he made a living running while bartending at night. Some of his brand partnerships evolved into one of the most popular Red Bull documentaries of all time as well as designing one of the most popular trail running shoes on the market, the Speedgoat by Hoka One One. 

Mentioned in this episode:

Show Notes:

  • Karl's early years (02:11)
  • How Karl started running (07:29)
  • The beginning of Ultra-running (11:20)
  • The Big 3 races (13:23)
  • Talking about career change and sponsorships (15:46)
  • Karl's first AT fastest known time attempt (23:24)
  • Going back to the AT in 2014 and 2016 (29:19)
  • How Karl planned his pace for the AT (34:16)
  • Karl's setup at the start & end of the day (38:44)
  • Blizzard prevention setup and gear (41:31)
  • Karl's claims to fame (43:34)
  • Karl first run at 48 (47:19)
  • Red Bull documentary (54:44)
  • The Speedgoat shoe (57:27)
  • Thoughts about music, racing, and other stuff (1:00:50)
Chris Cage photo

About Chris Cage

By Chris Cage Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine to Fast Company. He wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe. Instagram: @chrisrcage.
Stoveless Backpacking Meals
  • 650-Calorie Fuel
  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning