Jennifer Pharr Davis is a lover of long journeys and good stories. She is an author, speaker, record setter 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 covered the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes, maintaining a remarkable average of forty-seven miles per day. By doing this, she claimed the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the “A.T.” and became the first woman to set that mark.
Jennifer has authored seven books, including her latest critically acclaimed work, The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience (Viking Press). She has also written three North Carolina guidebooks and two hiking memoirs called Becoming Odyssa and Called Again, as well as articles for The New York Times, Outside magazine, Backpacker, Trail Runner, and Blue Ridge Outdoors.
She is a professional speaker who has shared her trail adventures hundreds of times in the U.S. and Europe, including presentations to Fortune 500 companies, schools, libraries, bookstores, and conferences. Notable clients include Volvo, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Lowe's, General Electric, Cox Media, Feeding America, Chatauqua, Penn State University, the University of Arkansas, Amherst College, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Frankfurt International School.
Jennifer is founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company (www.blueridgehikingco.com), a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels. She has served as a board member for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and ambassador for the American Hiking Society. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband Brew, their daughter Charley and son Gus.
- THE PURSUIT OF ENDURANCE: HARNESSING THE RECORD-BREAKING POWER OF STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE Jennifer Pharr Davis, a record holder of the FKT (fastest known time) on the Appalachian Trail, reveals the secrets and habits behind endurance as she chronicles her incredible accomplishments in the world of endurance hiking, backpacking, and trail running. With a storyteller’s ear for fascinating detail and description, Davis takes readers along as she trains and sets her record, analyzing and trail-testing the theories and methodologies espoused by her star-studded roster of mentors. She distills complex rituals and histories into easy-to-understand tips and action items that will help you take perseverance to the next level. The Pursuit of Endurance empowers readers to unlock phenomenal endurance and leverage newfound grit to achieve personal bests in everything from sports and family to the boardroom. “Jennifer Pharr Davis is an understated hero who matched the speed and endurance of some of the country’s best male ultrarunners—professional athletes with corporate sponsorships and well-financed expeditions—all on her own and with relatively little fanfare. A fascinating read, and a testament to the fortitude of an extraordinary woman.” —Dean Karnazes, ultramarathoner and New York Times bestselling author
- CALLED AGAIN: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRIUMPH After graduating from college, Jennifer isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she’s crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need. "Many books have been written by thru-hikers, but none measure up to Jennifer Pharr Davis' epic. The Appalachian Trail speed record holder describes her journey from college graduate to a student of the trail in stunningly beautiful detail. Her tales from the trail are full of adventure and inspiration, and her writing is as lyrical as her Odyssey-inspired trail name. She offers concrete, trail-tested advice for aspiring thru-hikers, and she candidly shares her failures and frustrations along with her successes. If you're searching for the one A.T. book that best captures the spirit of the trail, follow in the footsteps of Odyssa." -- Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine
- BECOMING ODYSSA: ADVENTURES ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis became the overall record holder on the Appalachian Trail. By hiking 2,181 miles in 46 days – an average of 47 miles per day – she became the first woman to ever set that mark. But this is not a book about records or numbers; this is a book about endurance and faith, and most of all love. The most amazing part of this story is not found at the finish, but is discovered through the many challenges, lessons and relationships that present themselves along the trail. This is Jennifer’s story, in her own words, about how she started this journey with a love for hiking and more significantly a love for her husband Brew. Together, they were able to overcome rugged mountains and raging rivers, sleet storms and 100 degree heat, shin-splints and illnesses. They made new friends and tested old friendships; they shared together laughter, and tears – a lot of tears. But, through it all, they fell more in love with one another and with the wilderness. By completing this extraordinary amateur feat, Jennifer rose above the culture of multi-million dollar sports contracts that is marked by shortcuts and steroids. This is the story of a real person doing something remarkable. Jennifer Pharr Davis is a modern role-model for women – and men. She is an authentic hero. "An inspired exploration of the meaning of commitment." -Kirkus Reviews
- FAMILIES ON FOOT: URBAN HIKES TO BACKYARD TREKS AND NATIONAL PARK ADVENTURES Published in partnership with the American Hiking Society, Families on Foot offers practical advice and engaging activities to make hiking even more fun for families. You'll find clever ideas and inspiration that apply to kids of all ages--from tackling diaper blowouts in the backcountry to using smartphone apps and GPS to engage teenagers with nature. Information for children with special needs and seniors also is included. Author Jennifer Pharr Davis, the former record holder of the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, together with her husband Brew Davis, marries old-fashioned know-how on safety, preparation, and trail conservation with modern day activities and technology, inspirational and interactive games, and down-and-dirty fun on the trail. Information includes smart tactics for families with kids of a variety ages on the trail—from tackling diaper blowouts in the backcountry to getting teenagers engaged in nature with smartphone apps and GPS—and is inclusive of special needs children and senior adults.
- 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year
- 2016 North Carolina Laurel Wreath Award for Athletic Achievement
- 2008 Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Person of the Year
- 2011 Ultrarunning Magazine Performance of the Year