I'll start with this: JPD is one of my heroes. I managed to get her phone number through the friend of a friend connection prior to attempting my PCT FKT in 2012. I remember being sweaty palmed and nervous to talk to her on the phone.
By the time we hung up I felt like just maybe I could manage to pull and FKT hike together.
Jennifer is strong, compassionate, and encouraging. Her words on the phone before the PCT helped me plan better. Her words in Called Again, the story of her own FKT on the Appalachian Trail, helped me stay strong and focused in the dark, hopeless moments of my Appalachian Trail FKT last year.
So, now the book.
Called Again is Jennifer's account of her overall supported Fastest Known Time hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2011 (subsequently broken by Scott Jurek in 2015). She was supported by her husband Brew. She covered the entire 2,181 miles in 46 days.
What I loved about this book was the detail of the story behind the miles. The love of hiking. The strength of her marriage through hardship and sacrifice. The beautiful generosity that pervades the long distance hiking and running communities.
Jennifer is an above average writer, something that I find hard to come by amongst athletes that write their stories. She is gifted not only physically, but artistically. If you've struggled with the writings of other modern athletes you won't have that problem with Called Again.
If you're curious about the mental ups and downs of pushing yourself to the very limit for prolonged periods of time this is an incredibly honest look. Jennifer doesn't hold back from admitting the times she was less than kind and generous to her support crew. This makes for an authentic read rather than euphoric fluff. It's real, gritty, honest, and complete. I loved every word.