On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 28th, Karel Sabbe, 28-year old dentist from Ghent, Belgium, broke the previous speed record for the completing the Appalachian Trail when he summited Mt. Katahdin in Maine. By completing the Appalachian Trail in 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes, Sabbe shattered the previous speed record of 45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes, set by Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy just less than a year prior.
To put that into perspective, take the 2,189-mile length of the AT and divided it by 41. That’s over 32 miles a day. In other words, he completed more than 2 marathons a day. For 41 days. That’s one thing and one thing only: elite.
It must be pointed out that Sabbe completed the trail assisted, supported by a crew of his friends, wife and family, who supplied him with food, water and supplies along the way. (McConaughy’s record was unsupported, making it even more impressive). But that certainly does not take away from the insane feat of athleticism he accomplished, smashing the record by over 4 days and 5 hours while enduring rough, wet, hot, muggy, buggy and even unpleasantly-cold conditions.
Making this feat more impressive is the fact that Sabbe also holds the FKT (Fastest Known Time) record for the Pacific Crest Trail, which he set in 2016. He completed the 2,650-mile PCT in 52 days, 8 hours and 25 minutes, and is currently the only person to ever hold FKT’s for both ultra-long-distance trails at the same time.
In other words, Karel Sabbe is a boss. A real superhuman. We look forward to seeing him smash more records in the future.
If you think you can break his record, start training.