Jennifer Pharr Davis on ‘Hiking’ vs ‘Trail Running’ Culture (Ep.7)


  • Jennifer’s unconventional book tour (5:05)
  • “Hiking” vs “Trail Running” culture (7:50)
  • Inclusivity & diversity in the outdoors / outdoor industry (16:09)
  • How hiking can help individuals & communities (22:50)
  • Jen’s favorite story from The Pursuit of Endurance (27:30)
  • Harnessing the power of failure (33:53)
  • What does it mean to “befriend adversity”? (37:35)
  • Inner drive vs contentment (39:44)
  • The increasing importance of connecting with nature (44:14)

Scott Jurek, one of the all-time great trail runners, called his attempt to break Jennifer Pharr Davis’ FKT (Fastest Known Time) for hiking the Appalachian Trail, “The hardest thing he’d ever done.” And yet, hiking and thru-hiking isn’t often given the credit it deserves either as a monumental test of endurance, or (on the other hand) as a less intimidating / more effective way to get more people outdoors.

So we talk to Jennifer Pharr Davis about the differences and divides between hiking culture & trail running culture; why — and how — she works to break down barriers and get more people outside; what she’s learned about “befriending adversity,” harnessing the power of failure, the increasing importance of connecting with nature, and more.

Jennifer is a hiker, author, speaker, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year who has covered over 14,000 miles of long-distance trails on six different continents. In 2011, she set the Fastest Known Time — for men or women — for the Appalachian Trail, at forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes.

She is also the founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels.

Jennifer is currently on a tour for her most recent book, The Pursuit of Endurance.

Jennifer Pharr Davis talks about the differences between hiking and trail running, lessons from her book, "Pursuit of Endurance," and more on Blister's Off The Couch podcast
Jennifer Pharr Davis

1 comment on “Jennifer Pharr Davis on ‘Hiking’ vs ‘Trail Running’ Culture (Ep.7)”

  1. Hi, Jennifer ,

    I just finished reading “Becoming Odyssa” and want to say how much I enjoyed it. I tend to read every distance hiking book I can find and yours ranks high in enjoyment. I was thrilled to read at the very end that, after your 2008 hike, you and your husband opened “Blue Ridge Hiking Company” and was so happy that you found a way to keep the trail in your life. You are a great inspiration for many, especially this 68-yr old life-long hiker.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

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