[Matt] Kirk, 32, on Wednesday night [8/7/2013] broke the unsupported speed record for a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
What that means, exactly, is that Kirk, a schoolteacher who most recently was living in Western North Carolina with his wife, Lily, is the fastest human to hike the 2,185-mile-long Appalachian Trail, without assistance. He carried all his own food and water, mailing himself supplies ahead of time, and walking out of the trail to retrieve them – no being carted around in a car.
He started at trail’s northern terminus at Mt. Katahdin, Maine, and arrived at the summit of Springer Mountain, Ga., at 7:20 p.m. in 58 days, 9 hours, 40 minutes.
Officially, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy doesn’t recognize speed records on the AT. But the rest of us sure do—which is why Jennifer Pharr Davis is our woman of the hour. On July 31,  this string bean lean 28-year-old finished the fastest thru-hike the grand daddy of all hiking trails has ever seen: 2,175+ miles in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. She hiked north to south, with a support team lead by her husband Brew, knocking 1 day, 2 hours and 11 minutes off the standing record (set by Andrew “Traildog” Thompson in 2005).