Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Interview With Karl Meltzer

Name: Karl Meltzer
Residence: Sandy, Utah
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Years Running: 30
Running Accomplishments: 49 Ultra wins in 93 starts.
23 100 mile wins, most on earth by a trail runner (all trail races)
Awards: 2006 Ultrarunner of the Year, 2006 Everest
Award. More can be found on his BIO page on karlmeltzer.com

This is Karl Meltzer. Those of you who know him from the Ultra-running world, know him simply as, "Mr. Amazing." Karl is undeniably one of the best ultra-runners in our country, which is why there is little doubt that he'll break the record he is challenging this coming August. On August 5, 2008; Karl will beging his journey on Mount Katahdin in Northern Maine. He'll run approximately 2,175 miles south to Georgia where he hopes to become the new holder of the Appalachian Trail Speed Record.

I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to speak to Karl about his up coming adventure. Here is what he had to say:

SJ: What Made you Decide to take on the AT Record (why do you want to run it)?
KM: I figured I would try and raise the bar a little instead of running so many 100s. The AT is a new challenge and putting pressure on myself to succeed makes it that much more interesting. I have also talked with friends over the past few years about how cool it would be to do something like this and track it efficiently so everyone can watch me suffer. It makes for a good story, even if I don't succeed.

SJ: Have you been in contact with any of the previous record holders for advice?
KM: No I haven't... why? I like to plan things myself and see if I can succeed. It's my personality really. It's like having pacers...no thanks.

SJ: How are you planning on coordinating aid throughout your run, will you have a crew?
KM: I will have an RV with a small crew (yet to be determined) The RV is all set, the crew is being worked on. Backcountry.com is the driver of the whole project as they have backed me up financially as well.

SJ:How many days do you think it should take you to complete the run?
KM: I am trying to do it under Andrew Thompson's record of 47 days, 13 hours, 31 minutes

SJ:What sections are you most concerned about?
KM: Not concerned about anything really, but Weather in NH and Maine are the key places I hope to zip through (so to speak).

SJ: What sections are you most excited about?
KM: Can't wait to run in the Smokies, I'll be able to smell the barn there, I hope to still be moving well.

SJ: How much does weather play a role in this attempt?
KM: It'll play a huge roll if it stops me. If it's just raining, I'll be prepared.

SJ: As a NH native, are you worried about the weather in the White Mountains?
KM: Its the same as above above. Not concerned really, it is what it is...uncontrollable factor.

SJ: So tell me about your gear? What shoes will you wear?
KM: La Sportiva Shoes, Nathan Packs, Moeben Sleeves, Ryders Eyewear Sunglasses (when needed), Powerbar, First Endurance Products, NUUN, Red Bull. Dunkin Donuts Blueberry muffins.

SJ: Any neat gadgets we can expect to see?
KM: I will be using a satellite communication device sponsored by SPOT, we are hooking this up as we speak. The website whereskarl.com will have more info as we move forward on the technology.

SJ: Can we follow your progress from home?
KM: Yes, You will be able to follow my progress almost live with podcasts, live commentary, (I'll have a mini microphone the size of a news person's, and a camera too, micro sized) Again the website whereskarl.com will be the command center for all to watch. We also will have a map on that site where you can click on the line following the AT and all kinds of interesting stats will pull up. It's freakin' awesome.

SJ: Will you have any pacers we may know?
KM: I don't have any "pacers". Noone paces me, I set my own pace, to be blunt! I have a few friends hiking/running with me. I will not allow extra people to tag along, or I'll have to drop them somehow.

SJ: Whats your favorite kind of trail magic?
KM: I don't think I can discuss that, but music is my friend

SJ: How do you think the other AT travelers/hikers might feel about your run?
KM: Many on the AT will welcome the attempt. For those who oppose it, then so be it, I won't be distracting them in any way as I blaze by them. Ultimately it will be fun to watch on the internet once we get going and if I am on record pace or not.

SJ: Why North to South?
KM: Andrew has the record in this direction, it makes it fair comparing my run to his.

SJ: Why the late start?
KM: I have other committments right now with the Speedgoat 50k on July 26th, and I want to run Western (WS100) fast as well, so the combination of both (if I do break the record) will be an outstanding and full year.

SJ: How will this run affect your running plans for the rest of the year?
KM: I just won't run races in the fall

SJ: Any future plans to tackle any other long distance trails?
KM: Not yet, but it's in the back of my mind. It depends how this goes. With all the logistics involved, and the money it takes to do this, it would be hard to say I'll do it every year....probably not.

SJ: Why did you decide to get away from conquering 100 Milers and to conquering the AT?
KM: Bigger Challenge, higher bar

Myself and the rest of Team Sherpa Ultra-Running wishes Karl all the best on his record attempt this summer. You can check in here for commentary on his adventure as I hope to be joining Karl on his adventure's through New Hampshire. GO KARL!