The Red Bull Pony Express – but a different type of pony this time, SHANKS PONY

SHANKS MARE in America, SHANKS PONY in England and Australia – what sort of strange language is this anyway?

I’m English, so shanks pony it is, although, strictly speaking, it has Scottish origins (from the 18th century) and I defy you to find a Scotsman who would deign to be called an Englishman!

But I’m wandering off track.

Karl Meltzer, supported by Red Bull, ran the 2,074 mile Pony Express route  in celebration of its 150th anniversary. This was the designated route for the premier mail service from east to west America which was used for 18 months in the 1860s. It became the  best form of communication in the western world prior to the telegraph – possibly second only to Genghis Khan’s 1,200 mile postal route in Mongolia in a MUCH earlier period.

Meltzer is a man with enough “wit, athleticism and endurance to push the boundaries of human potential” say Red Bull to take on a route that was historically undertaken on horseback.  More than 2,000 miles of  challenging terrain and unpredictable weather were ahead of him from the start line in Sacramento, California to St. Joseph, Missouri.

He began on 17th September and completed the epic journey a mere 40 days later, on 25th October, averaging 50+ miles a day.

7 pairs of shoes (Hoka One One which he can’t rate more highly), 143 cans of Red Bull (a sponsor he can’t rate more highly either), and some GOOD ale kept his spirits up on the epic voyage.

It wasn’t all hard slog despite the 100-mile final leg into St. Joseph. There was time to take in a game of golf, squeezed, quite naturally, into just another grueling day!

“Karl’s a very happy man,” said the Red Bull team. “He’s so happy to be done. And I think he’s really proud of himself for finishing this. He should be, man. To go on when the record was out of reach takes a man with some big balls and a big will. But he did it.”

And why did he do it? “I’ve run a lot of 100-mile marathons, and this was an opportunity to challenge myself personally and professionally to do something no one else has ever done,” he explained.

Our congratulations Karl – what a run.

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