225 miles and 100 parks: one woman’s epic hike around New York City

Liz Thomas held the speed record for the legendary Appalachian Trail. But she also wanted to show why walking in our cities is important for our well-being

When we talk about hiking, we typically think about escaping urban confines and exploring land less touched by humanity. We envision walking through lush landscapes, or scaling mountains that overlook miles of unspoiled terrain. But Liz Thomas, who held the speed record for the Appalachian Trail for five years, and has explored the world on foot, has evolved her approach to hiking over the years.

“I completed my first urban hike in Los Angeles in 2013 and since then, my view of what hiking is has changed,” Thomas tells the Guardian. “It sparked something in me in how I thought about being active, how I thought about the urban landscape, and how I thought about how people interact with nature and their bodies.”

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