A 23-year-old Seattle man has set speed record for running the length of the Pacific Crest Trail supported by a team of helpers.
Joe McConaughy crossed into Canada on Sunday, 53 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes after leaving the U.S-Mexico border on the 2,660-mile trail through California, Oregon and Washington, according to his fund-raising website.
McConaughy, a former collegiate runner, averaged about 50 miles a day – through desert and then the highest and some of the most rugged mountains in the West – to beat last year’s record by six days.
The Pacific Crest Trail Association has not yet acknowledged the record, but there is no official time keeper for long distance trail records.
McConaughy followed protocol with other record-setting attempts by using a satellite tracking beacon to verify his route and time. He says he ran the downhill and flat sections and generally hiked the uphills.
The Seattle native beat the end-to-end Pacific Crest Trail record set last August by Josh Garrett, a Santa Monica College track coach and exercise physiology instructor who emphasized his vegan diet.
From a backpacker’s standpoint, McConaughy’s supported running record isn’t in the same league as the separate record for trekking border to border alone, without an accompanying support team.
Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson of Bellingham continues to own that unsupported record of 60 days, 17 hours, set in August 2013.
McConaughy had three buddies who leap-frogged his itinerary and met up with him almost daily with supplies and camping gear, enabling him to run most days with just an ultralight day pack.
McConaughy used his speed trek to raise money for cancer support services in honor of his late cousin, Colin McConaughy.
The fundraising total was near $27,000 as he fashioned the trail.