I'm a strong believer in Hike Your Own Hike. At the same time, I feel that the speed record phenomenon - while of human nature - has a unique capacity to depreciate the experiences of other long distance users who share the trail corridor, mostly in ways that are intangible yet real, and on some level for certain users are difficult to fully surmount.
This sense of depreciation, over time, also extends to the trail corridor itself, not in any physical sense, but by somehow reducing the stature and mystique of the long trail in proportion to the self-aggrandizement the phenomenon derives from it. Setting and promoting speed records, far from its naive beginnings, now presents itself as something of a business model, something antithetical to the traditional intent of the long distance trail. A historical truth is now in harm's way: the ability of the humble long path through the woods, by appearing to be infinite, insurmountable, unknowable, to stir the souls of average folks to achieve something extraordinary. This newfound competition for the title of "most extraordinary" has the capacity to leave the traditional majority who wish only to compete introspectively with a diminished sense of purpose and accomplishment. And "just getting over it" is not as simple a directive as it may seem.
I don't wish to heap all the trouble onto the speed record camp, since the information age surely plays its role as well, as does perhaps the natural evolution of the long trails experience, still unfolding. I do, however, like to believe that the problem, as it exacerbates, will be self-correcting over time, as those who find themselves repelled by the "new reality" seek personally meaningful experiences elsewhere in nature than on the neo-superhighways of the long-distance hiking world. I also like entertaining the notion that munificence may one day replace ego as the catalyst to finding self-worth through achievement in nature.