Ultrarunner Karl Meltzer Talks Appalachian Trail Record, Next Race and More

Karl Meltzer accomplished a feat on Sept. 18 that had eluded him twice before: becoming the fastest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

“I put so much hard work and time into this — recon, being on the trail and learning it. It feels great to actually be successful,” Meltzer told FN just days after his big finish. The 48-year-old athlete, sponsored by Hoka One One, completed the 2,190-mile trek in 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes — besting Scott Jurek’s record from July 2015.

Karl Meltzer Hoka One One Red Bull Appalachian Trail
Hoka One One athlete Karl Meltzer running the Appalachian Trail in his Speedgoat signature shoe.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Red Bull.

The Utah-based Meltzer said this is the biggest accomplishment of his career to date, and he’s still got plenty of run left in him. “This one was the big dance, the one I wanted,” he said. “It put a stamp on my career, but there’s no way I’m going to retire.”

As of now, Meltzer doesn’t have another race scheduled, but he confirmed his interest in tackling the Western States Endurance Run in California and the Hardrock 100 in Colorado. When that might be, though, remains up in the air. He’s still in recovery mode and is in no hurry to lace up his signature Hoka One One Speedgoat trail runners quite yet: “My body will tell me when I’m ready to go race again.”

Here, Meltzer shares the best place for fine dining in Utah, the athlete he admires most and his favorite golf course in the country.

Most delicious food in Utah: “Log Haven in Salt Lake City. The chef is spectacular.”

Athlete I admire most: “Bernard Lagat. He’s the god of track running.”

Best drink from my bartending days: “Red Bull and vodka.”

Favorite place to play golf: “The Greenbrier in West Virginia.”

Hidden talent: “Playing croquet. I have a court in my backyard.”

Go-to phone app: “AccuWeather. I’m fascinated with the weather.”

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