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The champion ultrarunner will leave nothing to chance on his third Appalachian Trail record attempt
Last year, Karl Meltzer drove the length of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia. Alone, he stopped at every road crossing, taking meticulous notes.

“Hopefully, the third time’s a charm,” says Meltzer, 48, of his upcoming speed-record attempt on the AT. “I really hate that cliché. But the more times you do something, the more familiar you become with it, and the better chance you have.”

As Meltzer hinted, it’s his third try for the record on the 2,189-mile trail that runs along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The current fastest known time (FKT), set last year by Scott Jurek, is 46 days 8 hours 8 minutes, an average of nearly 50 miles per day.

Meltzer chalks up his previous two failures to avoidable mistakes – lack of attention to details he’s since gleaned from the two attempts and some extracurricular recon.

The AT is an unforgiving trail, replete with challenges that can wreak havoc on the best-laid plans, and Meltzer’s goal this time is to minimize the avoidable risk. So he’s learned which sections of the trail are most slowed by rain, or how far some sections go between road crossings and crew access.

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