Record-setting endurance athlete to speak at Steamboat Springs library
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Very few people will ever join the ranks of endurance athlete Jennifer Pharr Davis, but the lessons she has learned during her journeys can be applied by everyone in everyday life.
In 2011, Pharr Davis hiked the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes.
She traveled an average of 47 miles each day and set the record for the fastest-known person to ever hike the Appalachian Trail. Seven years later, Pharr Davis continues to reflect on the experiences.
“I think the lessons of endurance can be applied to physical challenges or emotional setback or really whatever you’re dealing with,” Pharr Davis said. “It’s not just my story. It’s not just my experience on the trail.”
Pharr Davis, who lives in Asheville, North Carolina, will share her experiences and talk about her new book “The Pursuit of Endurance” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs.
Pharr Davis, who has hiked more than 14,000 miles of long-distance trails, interviewed fellow endurance athletes and record holders for her newest book. She wanted to know the answers to some very deep questions.
“Tell me why it matters, how did it help you and how can it help someone else?” Pharr Davis said.
During her 2011 record hike on the Appalachian Trail, while in a lot of pain with shin splints, she met up with Warren Doyle, who set one of the first records for the trail in the 1970s.
“I met him at an intersection and asked him when is the time to quit?” Pharr Davis said.
He told her there was a difference between stopping and quitting, and the decision is very personal.
“When you know it’s right in your heart, it’s stopping, and when you have regret and wish you could keep going, it’s quitting,” Pharr Davis said. “When I looked at it that way, I was never ready to quit the hike. It seemed like a nicer option to maybe stop, but not one I would be happy with long term.”
Pharr Davis always enjoys visiting Steamboat, and it is one of her stops on a four-month book tour. She keeps busy with her book tours, public speaking and running a guiding company that gets 1,000 people on the trail each year, but she has no immediate plans to chase after any other records.
“The main adventure is a 1- and a 5-year-old and work,” she said. “There are a lot of trails I would like to do, but I’m happy where I’m at.”
For anyone considering tackling a long hike, she had some advice.
“If they do a long through-hike, the trail is going to change them,” Pharr Davis said. “Ask if they are ready for change and ask if the people in your life are prepared for you to be different when you come home.”
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