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The Associated Press

STAMFORD -- An Oregon man has broken the speed-hiking record on the Long
Trail, despite a swollen ankle and exhaustion that almost forced him to
abandon his trek in the final hours for the second straight year.

Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer completed the 273-mile hike at 5:30 p.m. Sunday after
four days, 13 hours and 15 minutes.

The time was 2 hours, 3 minutes faster than the mark set by Ed Kostak in
2000 for the nation's first long-distance hiking trail, which spans Vermont
north to south along the spine of the Green Mountains.

The attempt by Keizer, of Coos Bay, Ore., went according to schedule until
the final few miles.

"He had six-tenths of a mile to go, and he just sat down and said he
couldn't go on," said Keizer's girlfriend, Ann "Sugar Dog" Sulzer. "He said
everything hurt so much that he just couldn't do it. We didn't know if it
was just that he was tired and needed some motivation, or if there was
really something wrong."

Sulzer and members of Keizer's support crew asked him some basic questions
to gauge his coherence, then tried to convince him that his legs would feel
better once he started moving again.

Eventually, Keizer got up and hiked the remaining stretch with Sulzer and
six other members of his 22-person support crew, known as the Dog Team.

"It wasn't exactly like jogging -- more like stumbling -- but he made it,"
Sulzer said. "At the finish, he collapsed, rolled over and said, 'We did
it.' Then he promptly fell asleep."

Last August, Keizer's Long Trail challenge ended unsuccessfully 17 miles
short of the finish.

He was helped this year by drier weather and improved food and water
support. Keizer owns numerous mountain speed-hiking marks, including ones
in New York's Adirondacks, Colorado's Rockies and the southern
Appalachians.

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