BRATTLEBORO -- Nikki Kimball, one of the most celebrated ultrarunners in the world, recently began her attempt to break both male and female speed records by completing Vermont’s iconic Long Trail in just four and a half days. Kimball began her record attempt at the Canadian Border near North Troy, Vermont, and will traverse the ridge of the Green Mountains for 273 miles to the trail end at the Massachusetts border near Williamstown.
The current overall record -- set by Jonathan Basham on Sept. 11, 2009 -- stands at four days, 12 hours, and 46 minutes, while the women’s record is currently held at more than seven days.
Kimball is a three-time winner of the North American Ultra Runner of the Year Award, three-time Western States winner and 2007 Ultra-Trail Du Mount Blanc winner.
As a Vermont native, currently residing in Bozeman, Mont., Kimball learned to take her first steps just moments from the Long Trail, which is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. The historic trail runs through the heart of Vermont’s backwoods and crosses the state’s highest peaks as it winds its way past pristine ponds, alpine bogs, hardwood forests and swift streams. The Long Trail is "steep in some places, muddy in others, and rugged in most," according to the Green Mountain Club that built the trail in 1910.
Along the way, Kimball will be raising money for Girls on the Run Vermont, a non-profit organization
"Since I learned to run in Vermont, and I’m making this attempt in Vermont, I want to be able to support young athletes in my home state," said Kimball. "This will be a very challenging attempt, but the bigger goal is to inspire women and girls of all ages, and show that there’s an equal place for women in professional sports."
The record attempt is being filmed by Fours Five Productions and MontanaPBS, which will examine the role of women in professional sports and explore the world of distance running. The documentary "Long Trail" will air on PBS in 2013.
To learn more about the "Long Trail," visit MontanaPBS.org/LongTrail or www.thelongtrailfilm.com. For more information about Girls on the Run and how to donate, visit http://www.active.com/donate/thelongtrail or www.girlsontherun.org.
Kimball is a decorated ultrarunner who’s accumulated numerous first-place finishes in top races, including Western States (2004, 2006, 2007), Ultra-Trail Du Mount Blanc (2007) and the 50-Mile Trail National Championship (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007). She’s competed as a member of several U.S. teams, including the 100K, mountain running and snowshoe racing teams. She lives in Bozeman, Mont., and works as an orthopedic physical therapist. She is co-creator of The Running Clinic, a monthly screening of runners and triathletes aimed at preventing injury and advising athletes on proper nutrition, training and footwear.