Just over a week ago, ultra-runner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer set a new record: he ran the 2,190 mile-long Appalachian Trail in 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes — slicing about ten hours off of fellow ultra-runner Scott Jurek’s 2015 time.
For Meltzer, who is 48, the achievement marks a new pinnacle of his shining career: since his start in 1996, the Utah-based ultra-runner has won a record thirty-eight 100-mile trail races. He had also attempted the Appalachian Trail twice before: once in 2008, when he finished, but didn’t beat the outstanding record, and again in 2014 when he dropped out after nearly 1,600 miles. The 2016 run was sponsored by Red Bull, whose signature drink Meltzer gulped down about five times each day.
As ultra-running enthusiasts (and caffeine addicts), we had a few quick questions as to how to best achieve running greatness. We opened by asking what Meltzer would advise those looking to conquer ultra-distances. He did, after all, average nearly 50 miles every day, for almost fifty days. Meltzer spoke about the importance of the mental component of the experience, noting that one should, “Simply take one step at a time. Don’t look at the overall long distance. Think of it as all short runs and eventually we get to the finish.” It’s obviously easier said than done, but it’s valuable advice from the runner best-equipped to know.
Meltzer also emphasized the importance of eating while running — and incorporating nutrition into extended exercise. He added, “Training yourself to eat while running is a big plus as well, because you’ll have to eat along the way.”
Interestingly, unlike previous record holder Scott Jurek, who is vegan, Meltzer was a bit more agnostic about where his calories came from. In an interview with Outside, Meltzer offered that, for dinner, he would often have pork loin, ribeye steaks, or fried chicken, washed down with a light beer.
We asked Meltzer about his coffee habit. We knew from a USA Todayinterview last year that, in his telling, “I typically wake up each day around 6–7 am, and first go for a cup of good pressed coffee.”
This time around, Meltzer volunteered, “I have my own blend of coffee called ‘Speedgoat Karl’s 100 Mile Blend.’ Jameson coffee distributes and brews it for me.” We explored, and, sure enough, Karl’s 100-mile Blend is available for a very reasonable $12/12 oz. from Jameson Coffee. The packaging even proclaims that “this rich and full bodied brew will keep you fueled. 100 miles guaranteed.”
There’s no word yet if a 2,200-mile Blend will be on offer, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed!