Thru-hiking time varies depending on the speed and fitness of the hiker. A fair estimate for planning a thru-hike is to allow three to four months to walk the trail. The sections currently located on roads and paved greenways can be covered more quickly on bicycles (skateboards and scooters have also been used – human powered, of course). The alternate Neuse River paddle route (Segments 11A-16A) will shorten your trip through the Coastal Plain and lower the total mileage to 1030 miles.
Section hiking the trail can take months or decades. Planning and completing a section hike can be more logistically challenging and requires a good system for keeping track of what has been hiked and what remains. If a route changes after you have already completed the previous route through that area, you are not required to go back and re-hike the new route. You are welcome to, but it is not required to be considered a completer.