On the morning of Monday, October 25th, ultra-marathon runner Karl Meltzer crossed the finish line in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri after completing a 40 day, 2,064-mile trek along the actual Pony Express National Historic Trail, a feat no one has ever achieved before.
The project, dubbed Red Bull Human Express, began on September 15th in Sacramento, California. You read that right…That’s more than 50 miles a day, or the equivalent of two marathons daily - crossing both the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, deserts and the Great Plains all on foot.
Completing his journey a full week ahead of schedule, Meltzer accomplished what 99.99% of humans would never even attempt. On his final day, he ran more than 100 miles (four complete marathons!), and as an homage to the postal carriers before him, Karl personally hand-delivered a letter from the Mayor of Sacramento to the Deputy Mayor of St. Joseph.
Why did he do it, you ask?
“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,” said Meltzer.
How did he do it?
“It took a lot of preparation, including about 5-7,000 calories of food each day, and half a can of Red Bull every 5 miles to keep Karl at his pace,” said Meltzer’s trainer Ted Meyer.
Red Bull Human Express came to life from Meltzer’s idea to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express Trail. In return, Meltzer was inducted into the Pony Express Museum on Monday, memorializing his journey. The City of St. Joseph officially declared October 25th “Karl Meltzer Recognition Day”.
By The Numbers
Total miles run: 2,064
Total calories burned: approx. 247,000 (equal 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 pounds of bacon consumed: 14
Number of hours of music listened to: 440
Number of pounds Karl lost on his first day of running: 8
Highest temperature: 98°F
Lowest temperature: 30°F
Highest elevation: 11,138 ft.
Lowest elevation: 1,286 ft.
Total elevation ascended: 91,068 ft.
Total elevation descended: 98,567 ft.
Number of wrong turns: too many to count!
A Day On The Trail
4:50 a.m. – Wake up
5:15 a.m. – Blood test
6:00 a.m. – Breakfast, consisting of Karl’s personal crepe recipe and bacon
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Run
5:30 p.m. – Heart monitor upload
6:00 p.m. – Ice bath
7:00 p.m. – Dinner, consisting of your typical red-blooded American diet - either fried chicken and potatoes or cheeseburgers and fries
8:00 p.m. – Review next day’s route
9:00 p.m. – Bed
Only one man holds claim to the record for the most 100-mile ultrarunning race wins (29), the world record for 100-mile single season victories (six), and course records at some the country’s most grueling enduro-running races. Karl Meltzer is that man. Meltzer is one of the world’s best in endurance mountain running – an extreme form of racing that makes a marathon look like a short sprint. The sure-footed, indefatigable athlete known as “Speedgoat Karl” now adds Red Bull Human Express to his list of accomplishments.
- Karl Meltzer profile
- Karl's day-to-day updates and info from the Pony Express Trail
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