On Oct. 25, ultramarathon runner Karl Meltzer crossed the finish line of a one-man run in downtown St. Joseph, Mo. The run had started on Sept. 15 in Sacramento, Calif.; 40 days and 2,064 miles later, Meltzer became the first human to trek across the Pony Express National Historic Trail. He ran to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the trail.
The project, dubbed the Red Bull Human Express, saw Meltzer run approximately 10 hours a day—roughly 50 miles—for more than a month without stopping.
“I’ve run a lot of 100-mile marathons, and this was an opportunity to challenge myself personally and professionally to do something no one else has ever done,” Meltzer stated in a press release.
Nicknamed “Speedgoat,” Meltzer has run trails and competed in ultras for more than a decade. The first person to run the Pony Express also holds the record for most wins in 100-mile races (29).
Running for such a long time is not something anyone can just get up one morning and do. Meltzer’s trainer, Ted Meyer, says, “It took a lot of preparation, including about five to seven thousand calories of food each day, and half a can of Red Bull every five miles, to keep Karl at his pace.”
Meltzer preaches preparation, offering tips to other distance runners via an online coaching service at his website, KarlMeltzer.com. Running race after race after race keeps Meltzer in top shape, but he still manages to rip off 50 to 60 mountain miles as part of his training routine for ultras.
Check out an average day for Meltzer while running the Pony Express, with the stats provided by Red Bull.
A Day On The Trail
4:50 a.m. Wake up
5:15 a.m. Blood test
6 a.m. Breakfast, consisting of Meltzer’s personal crepe recipe and bacon
7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Run
5:30 p.m. Heart monitor upload
6 p.m. Ice bath
7 p.m. Dinner, consisting of a typical red-blooded American diet—either fried chicken and potatoes or cheeseburgers and fries
8 p.m. Review next day’s route
9 p.m. Bed
By The Numbers
Total miles run: 2,064
Total calories burned: = approx. 247,000 (equivalent to 281 pounds of food or 532 Big Macs)
Pairs of shoes worn: 7
Gallons of water consumed: 60
Cans of Red Bull consumed: 143
Number of hours of music listened to: 440
Number of pounds Karl lost on his first day running: 8
Highest temperature: 98°F
Lowest temperature: 30°F
Highest elevation: 11,138 feet
Lowest elevation: 1,286 feet
Total elevation ascended: 91,068 feet
Total elevation descended: 98,567 feet
Number of wrong turns: Too many to count!
On the last day of the race, Meltzer ran more than 100 miles (four complete marathons). To pay tribute to the postal carriers who went before him, he then personally delivered a letter from the mayor of Sacramento to the deputy mayor of St. Joseph.
Source: Red Bull