Where's Karl?by Marit Fischer
If you want to find answers these days, you look online.
Wondering what became of that kid in second grade who used to eat spiders and then would try to lick your face? Google. Need to know the correct spelling of cumquat (uh, kumquat)? Merriam-Webster. Do female giraffes have horns? Wikipedia. Where’s Karl Meltzer during his speed record run of the Appalachian Trail? WheresKarl.com.
On Aug. 5, 2008, Backcountry.com athlete Karl Meltzer, the 40-year-old winner of 49 ultra-distance mountain races (including 23 hundred-milers) and record-holder for the most 100-mile trail races won in a year (six in 2006), will begin his attempt to break the Appalachian Trail speed record. That means he must run the entire length of this mountainous trail from north to south, covering 2,174 harsh miles in less than 47 hot, humid, buggy days—at a blistering pace of more than 46 miles per day.
And you can follow the whole awesomely insane effort online.
Whereskarl.com, the official tracking site of Karl’s AT record attempt, went live on July 10th. The complete site, created by Backcountry.com, replaces a blog that kept readers up to date on Karl’s training and preparations during the past three months.
The new WheresKarl.com features:
- An interactive topo map with real-time SPOT GPS tracking of Karl’s progress
- A daily recap of Karl’s goals vs. his actual performance (in terms of miles and hours)
- A contest in which fans can guess Karl’s daily miles and hours, with weekly prizes from Karl’s sponsors
- A daily summary of Karl’s vitals (heart rates, calories burned)
- A blog, authored by Karl’s crew, updated multiple times per day
- A video and image gallery
“With the SPOT unit and the interactive map on the site, people will be able to see my progress in real time as I go,” said Karl Meltzer. “That’s a great thing, really, because I’m going to be pretty delirious after day three. I’ll be pointing my feet in the right direction and doing what I can to keep moving. So, at least everyone else will know where I am.”
Karl will run alone, though he will intersect with his crew at crossroads as often as possible. His longest stretch without contact will be 36 miles. He will burn 8,000 calories per day, wear through seven or eight pairs of trail running shoes, consume a small pond’s-worth of PowerBar Gel, and listen to countless hours of Grateful Dead. Karl’s crew will document all of this and more on the Where’s Karl? blog.
Backcountry.com and a cadre of other sponsors, including Marmot, Moeben, SPOT, V.I.O., First Endurance and La Sportiva will support Karl during this record attempt.