One of the modern giants of human endurance is returning to New England. Ultra-endurance hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis will speak at the Natick Outdoor Store at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in Natick, Mass., as part of a tour to promote her new book, “The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience.”
More than just writing about how to harness strength and resilience, Pharr Davis is living proof of turning those words into action.
Long before the New England ultrarunning community was captivated by Boston resident Joe McConaughy’s record-setting self-supported run of the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2017, and even before ultrarunning giants Karl Meltzer in 2016 and Scott Jurek in 2015 claimed the AT supported speed records, Pharr Davis set the bar that all of them would chase.
Pharr Davis established the record for the fastest thru-hike of the AT when she completed the journey in 2011 in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. Moving an average of 47 miles per day, the standard she set went untouched by any other human for four years.
Prior to her 2011 journey, Pharr Davis thru-hiked the AT in 2005 and again in 2008. She set what was at the time the fastest known time for an AT thru-hike by a woman on her 2008 trek when she averaged 38 miles per day and finished in 58 days and 8 hours.
A National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012, Pharr Davis has thru-hiked some of the world’s most well recognized trails, from the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Colorado Trail, and the Long Trail in the United States, to the Tour du Mont Blanc and West Highland Way in the Europe, to the Inca Trail in Peru.
In her new book, Pharr Davis shares stories from how she trained and ultimately achieved the Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record, as well as secrets to endurance success that readers can apply to their own pursuits. She also pays homage to another thru-hiking great, Heather Anderson, whose self-supported thru-hiking feats have included record-setting performances on the Pacific Crest Trail and the AT.
Pharr Davis’ book tour includes multiple stops in Massachusetts. She spoke at Williams College in Williamstown on Wednesday night, April 25, and she’ll speak at 8 p.m. tonight at Amherst College. After stops in Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt.; Hanover and Dover, N.H.; and Waterville, Maine, Pharr Davis will return to Massachusetts for the event at the Natick Outdoor Store, 38 North Ave. Admission is free.