Karel Sabbe: the Belgian Ultra Runner who just finished the Pacific Crest Trail in a record tempo
If you are looking for some inspiration to push your limits and challenge yourself, look no further than Karel Sabbe, the Belgian ultra runner who just finished the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in a record tempo of 46 days, 12 hours, and 50 minutes. That's more than five days faster than the previous record set by Timothy Olson in 2021.

The PCT is a 2,652-mile (4,279-km) trail that runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, crossing through California, Oregon, and Washington. It traverses diverse and stunning landscapes, such as deserts, mountains, forests, and volcanoes. It also involves a total elevation gain of about 400,000 feet (121,920 m), which is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest more than 13 times.

Sabbe is no stranger to long-distance records. He also holds the fastest known time (FKT) for the Appalachian Trail (AT), a 2,189-mile (3,523-km) trail that spans 14 states in the eastern US. He completed it in 41 days, 7 hours, and 39 minutes in 2018, breaking Scott Jurek's record by over five days. In addition, he has set FKTs on several trails in Europe, such as the Via Alpina Red and the Pyrenean Haute Route.

Sabbe is also one of the few people who have finished the infamous Barkley Marathons, a brutal race in Tennessee that consists of five loops of about 20 miles (32 km) each, with a cumulative elevation gain of 60,000 feet (18,288 m). He completed it in 59 hours and 36 minutes this year, becoming the 17th finisher in the race's history.

What does it take to undergo such a feat as running the PCT in record time? Sabbe shared some insights into his preparation, strategy, and mindset in an interview with Outside Online. Here are some of the key points:

- Sabbe trained for about six months before attempting the PCT FKT. He ran about 100 miles (160 km) per week on average, with some weeks reaching up to 150 miles (240 km). He also did strength training and cross-training on a bike or elliptical machine.
- Sabbe had a crew of four people who supported him along the way. They provided him with food, water, gear, massages, and moral support. They also helped him plan his route and logistics, such as where to camp and resupply.
- Sabbe ran an average of 58.1 miles (93.5 km) per day on the PCT, with some days exceeding 70 miles (112 km). He slept about six hours per night in a tent or a van. He ate mostly liquid food, such as smoothies, soups, and protein shakes. He also consumed energy bars, gels, cookies, and candy.
- Sabbe faced many challenges and difficulties on the PCT, such as extreme heat, snow, thunderstorms, wildfires, injuries, fatigue, and loneliness. He said that he had to overcome them by staying positive and focused on his goal. He also relied on his crew and his fans for motivation and encouragement.
- Sabbe said that he did not think about the previous record or compare himself to other runners. He said that he wanted to get the best out of himself every day and see what he was capable of. He also said that he enjoyed the beauty and diversity of the trail and appreciated the experience.

Sabbe's incredible achievement is a testament to his physical and mental strength, endurance, and resilience. He has shown that human potential is limitless when one sets a goal and pursues it with passion and determination. He has also inspired many people to follow their dreams and challenge themselves.

If you want to learn more about Sabbe's PCT FKT attempt or follow his future adventures, you can visit his website or follow him on Instagram or Facebook.

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