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As a guy on the “heavier” side that hates running(r/AdviceAnimals)
Lol. If you think your knees hurt and your muscles are sore after a run, wait until you are on day 5 without a shower, carrying a 35 lb pack, through the snow up mountains, and worse yet down mountains. There is no such thing as a flat section of the AT. 2148 miles, and the longest flat stretch is in Connecticut, and that’s only 5 miles. I’m not saying you can’t do it, all kinds of people have made it, just that the trail isn’t a cake walk.
I’m a heavier guy myself. I’ve been doing longer and longer hikes, and now that I can comfortably hike a month, I think I’m ready to tackle a thru hike. I encourage you to take on the trail, but it’s not easier than running 5k races. In fact, part of my personal training to hit the AT has been running. I have section hiked from Springer to Harper’s Ferry. My friends who have thru-hiked tell me that the pain is there and constant for the first 4 weeks, then you honestly get your trail legs.
So if you think it might be for you, do some reading. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk is pretty inspiring. Talk to other established hikers, get a good sense of the gear, and most importantly go out and hike. As a fellow bigger guy I can tell you that hammocks are a lot more comfortable, buy good gear once rather than makeshift gear over and over, and learn how to shit in the woods.
Good luck, and HYOH.
Edit: To answer a lot of questions, I’m retired military, and a freelance writer, that’s how I have the time. Yes, a 30 pound pack is a lot easier to carry, I’ve ditched a lot of stuff to get there, and invested in as much ultralight stuff as I can afford. A $300 hammock costs less than a $10,000 knee replacement. That’s just my take on it.