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Fast Track

David Horton beats birds and blisters to set a speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail

Three miles from the end of the 2,666-mile Pacific Crest Trail, David Horton came to an abrupt halt. Exhausted from running 13 hours a day for two months, the ultramarathoner tripped on a rock and face-planted in the dirt. "I bloodied my nose and scratched my glasses," he says. "I was in a daze, but I knew I was going to finish."

On Aug. 9 --  66 days, 7 hours and 16 minutes after he started at the U.S.-Mexico border--Horton, 55, crossed into Canada, smashing the 2003 PCT record by 17 days. Averaging 40 miles a day, the kinesiology professor from Virginia suffered just two blisters, both on his left foot. His strangest encounter? "I was buzzed and hit by a goshawk," he says. Toughest stretch? "Going out of Yosemite. We ran out of food for 26 1/2 hours. Our crew couldn't find us. I felt like quitting." Most surreal moment? Finishing the trail in the Cascades: "It was a blur. It doesn't seem like it was that long or that hard or that I even did it."




Fueled by ice cream,Horton averaged 40 miles a day.