To many, running a marathon is the ultimate goal in running, but there is a hardcore breed of long-distance runners that crave even longer distances. Try running 100 miles, dubbed ultras, or even further. But you wouldn’t expect beer to fuel one of these long-distance races.
One dedicated ultra runner has set the record for fastest time running the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, and he’s done so with highly unconventional fuel. 48-year-old Karl Meltzer, a former ski resort bartender, ran the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia (nearly 2,200 miles) in a total of 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes. That is one ultra ultra, and it broke the 46-day, eight-hour, seven-minute record established last year by 42-year-old Scott Jurek (seen at left above congratulating Meltzer, in a photo from Carl Rosen for the Red Bull Content Pool). What is the secret to his success? It’s not exactly what you might think considering the shape one must be in to complete such a run in a record-setting time.
Along the long-distance trail run, each of Meltzer’s days included consumption of Red Bull and Tang, and every night ended with a steady diet of beer, Spree candy, Three Musketeers and bacon. Naturally, right? He also downed five energy drinks during the day along his run, which helped to conserve time by not having to stop to eat in the morning and during the run. And when he needed a little nudge, friends filled him up with ice cream.
Personally, I’m not sure I’d feel good running the distance of a considerably shorter 5k on that kind of diet. I feel kind of icky just eating scrambled eggs before going for a run. Beer, chocolate bars and bacon? Meltzer must have one tough stomach to run those distances without losing much time.
This was Meltzer’s third attempt at setting the record for fastest Appalachian Trail run, which was previously set by Jurek last year. Jurek’s diet was much more what you would expect. To each his own, I suppose!