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Kristian Morgan - 2,189 miles in under 40 days!

All of us here at Bud & Tender are pleased to introduce and welcome our very first ambassador athlete, Kristian Morgan. Welcome to the team, Kristian!

Kristian is an ultra-runner, podcaster and online running coach specialising in ultra marathons. He is currently writing a book about his experiences 'Living in Ethiopia'.

Kristian started his running journey as a child growing up in the Australian outback. He completed his first major running accomplishment at the age of 23, by completing his first marathon, and even went on to win that very same marathon in 2016. Kristian is an inspiring individual who has run over 120 ultras and marathons and can say that for almost half of those runs he has placed in the top 10. When Kristian is not training or completing extreme challenges he uses his time to coach and help others with their running journeys. If you require expert coaching or training Kristian can be found at kristianultra.com.

Kristian is attempting to complete the Appalachian Trail in under 40 days!

In 2021, Kristian is attempting to complete the Appalachian Trail in under 40 days from May to July, making the effort to beat the current Fastest Known Time (FKT) of 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes set by Karel Sabbe. Kristian helped Karel Sabbe reach his record in 2018 by being a pacer for 15 days and running up to 36 miles each day with him.

Kristian’s attempt will be a gruelling mental and physical challenge while running through areas of breath-taking scenery with beautiful views.

The Appalachian Trail is a hiking trail that extends from the Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail length is 2,189 miles, and is described as ‘the longest hiking-only trail in the world.’ The trail passes through 14 US states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

An interesting fact about the Appalachian Trail is that the elevation (gain/loss) of it is equal to climbing Mount Everest 16 times.

It is said that over 2 million people hike sections of the trail annually, however, less than 15,000 people have successfully completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. It is believed that in recent years, around 2,500 thru-hikers set out on the trail every Spring, usually starting in Georgia and heading northbound, however around three-quarters of them do not make it to the end with many of them dropping out along the way. The most common reasons for dropping-out are factors such as fatigue, injury and/or illness, but even so, people have finished the thru-hike who would not usually be considered as being in prime athletic condition, including 80+ year olds.

Thru-hikers usually take 5-6 months to complete their journey, and that journey involves 5 million footsteps. A few thru-hikers will attempt to run and power-walk the trail, with the current record holder being Karel Sabbe, who completed the trail with the help of his support team in 2018 in 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. And the current record holder for completing the trail without a support team is Joe McConaughy who did it in 45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes. Most hikers will cover around 15 miles a day to complete the entire trail in 6 months, and must load up on high-calorie foods as they can burn up to 6,000 calories a day.

How does the Endocannabinoid System benefit from running?

A large number of people who complete a bout of aerobic exercise experience a feeling of reduced anxiety, a lessened ability to feel pain, happiness, elation, and inner harmony- this feeling of euphoria is known as a “runner's high”. For many years, this euphoria has been linked to an increase in endorphins that are thought to boost mood. However, German researchers have recently shown how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could also have a role in producing the runner’s high. They discovered this possible involvement while observing that endorphins were unable to pass through the blood-brain barrier, whereas they found that an endocannabinoid called anandamide, which was also found in high levels in the blood after running, can travel from blood to the brain. These findings could suggest that endocannabinoids, like anandamide, help to produce the runner’s high.



There has been another recent study that has suggested a possible relationship between endurance exercise and the ECS. In this study, they used trained male college students who would run on a treadmill or cycle on a stationary bike for 50 minutes at around 70-80% of their maximum heart rate, from this experiment they found that moderate-intensity exercise produced a significant increase in anandamide levels in the blood. This is a significant finding due to the ECS being able to reduce pain sensations and affect other emotional and cognitive processes, this could have implications of the possible psychological effects that come with exercising. And with cannabinoid receptors being present in muscle, skin, lung and other cells, these findings could suggest that the ECS has a role in moderating specific physiological responses to exercise. There have been other studies that have shown that exercise does indeed increase the concentrations of endocannabinoids, however further research is needed to fully understand this endocannabinoid response to exercise and the physiological effects, as well as the relevance of other factors, such as type of activity, sex, age, etc. 

Why CBD is great to supplement the Endocannabinoid System

The ECS is currently known to have a role in the regulation of certain human and animal functions such as sleep, appetite, and memory. The ECS does not only perform or exist when linked to cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD, as it is an active system even without these cannabis-plant cannabinoids. The main role of the ECS is to maintain the body’s homeostasis, which is keeping the balance within the human body, this includes the body’s temperature, as well as salt and water concentrations. Although cannabis-plant based cannabinoids are not necessary for the ECS to continue its normal function, researchers have found that cannabinoids such as CBD can help maintain the body’s homeostasis by the way in which they interact with components of the ECS. Endocannabinoids are the natural compounds that can be found in the human body, and these cannabinoids are also naturally produced in the cannabis plant, however, even without the use of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, endocannabinoids are still naturally present within the body. CBD is thought to be able to help maximise the effects of other cannabinoids of the body, assisting with the effectiveness of the ECS and its function. Although there has been promising research there are more studies needed to know how CBD fully effects and reacts with the ECS.