Can you believe this?
Renowned ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek had just finished setting an all-time speed record for power-hiking the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He completed the epic journey in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes, breaking the previous record by a little more than three hours.
It seemed like a well-deserved celebration was in order, but when Jurek and his buddies popped a few bottles of bubbly on top of Maine’s Mount Katahdin, the park rangers were not happy about it — not happy at all.
While it may not seem like the crime of the century, the rangers didn’t take kindly to the reverie and cited Jurek for multiple violations, including public drinking, littering and hiking in an oversized group. The littering citation came because rangers saw champagne spray hit rocks at the summit.
According to the Daily Mail, Jurek’s attorney said the Baxter Park Authority tried to make an example out of his client for other hikers, dragging the Colorado runner into a larger issue as park officials worried about crowding and commercialization of the trail.
AttorneyWalter McKee maintains the situation with Jurek was blown out of proportion, saying “thru hikers” — those who are traversing the celebrated trail from start to finish — account for only a fraction of people high atop the peak at the northern end. He went on to say of Jurek:
“He always acknowledged that he had consumed alcohol at the top of Mount Katahdin, not unlike many others have done. But nonetheless, he did it and he accepted responsibility.”
A district judge signed off Wednesday on an agreement between the runner/hiker’s lawyer and the district attorney in which Jurek paid the $500 fine for public drinking and the other citations were dropped.