Appalachian Trail Women's Thru-Hike Record Holder Sets Out to Break Her Own Record - National Geographic ADVENTURE

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June 07, 2011


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Along the way not only has she grown as an individual and become as comfortable in the backcountry as if it were her living room, but she's parlayed her experiences into a career as a motivational speaker, guidebook author, and coach for those looking to train for either long-distance hikes or long-distance runs.

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Darius Russell


I've just made it through the first 45 pages of you memoir. I bought it because I'm very seriously thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail this year. Wow! I am stunned and inspired by the second and third speed hikes you have accomplished. I only live 100 miles from Asheville, I will have to hire you for a few hours of consulting.



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She makes me wanna go jogging.

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46 miles a day?!?!?!

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I'm curious of the Arab pressure that is experienced while running a trail like that. Kudos it looks like she is running up towards the top of a mountain or something like that and from what I know there is a lot of pressure up there.

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I wonder if jen is tired and still appreciate the view.


Goodness, Jennifer can really make it and she's really that tough..



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the mountains there..
the trees and the grasses are so green and beautiful

Abby Austin

Jennifer, your story is extremely inspiring to me. I love the trail, but I've always been a couch pototato. Finally, I made a change to my health to become active because I had all these long term hiking goals. Now this year I'm trying just to hike 1,000 miles in my free time. I've been surprised about the body's capability. I get to see the backcountry that can't be seen from the highway.

Scrolling through my facebook updates, I saw this story, my first time learning about you. I have a hiking hero! Your interview is extremely inspiring! I am looking forward to reading your book to hear your stories. I'm also intrigued to learn about your gear so that it might improve my packing list. I'm thrilled to learn about you, and hope I can follow your next adventure. Happy Trails, Jennifer!

-Abby Austin


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JPD: Well, since I’m going to be punishing my feet and legs all day long for a month and a half, proper trail running shoes are the most important thing. The other item you always feel is your day pack, so I am very lucky to have an assortment of Salomon packs that fit great and allow me to run and hike in comfort. Also, I’ll never go on the trail without a watch. I have used a Suunto Vector for the past four years. I love having an altimeter, barometer and compass on my wrist at all times. I like being able to monitor approaching storms as well as my location and how high I’m climbing or how fast I’m descending. Since I need to keep my eye on the weather, having real-time barometric pressure and elevation is key.

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Along the way not only has she grown as an individual and become as comfortable in the backcountry as if it were her living room, but she's parlayed her experiences into a career as a motivational speaker, guidebook author, and coach for those looking to train for either long-distance hikes or long-distance runs.

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