All Posts by Fastest Known Time

The Fastest Known Time of the Year Awards are back for the 3rd year! This special Episode features amazing descriptions of the #5, #4, and #3 FKTs of the Year. Adding to the fun is Hillary Allen as co-host, and an appearance by Joe Grant, who beautifully articulates what is meaningful about this sport. "When you stop racing and you start dreaming, that's when the magic happens. And for me, that's what trail running and racing is all about." -- Hillary Allen "My experience was raw, and profound to me. I was happy with the learning that occurred on the route, I was happy with the effort, I was happy with learning the route ... (It wasn't the "number") … Yeah, so the number, there's something to it, but It's not the defining aspect of what makes this notable to me." -- Joe Grant

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What was the preeminent FKT in 2018? What inspired you the most? What are your predictions for 2019? Anton Krupicka, Clare Gallagher, and Peter Bakwin answer these questions and more! "Nick Elson on Half Dome and Joe Grants' Nolans - it's style versus pure performance." "When the TNF50 was cancelled, the ladies really threw down - watching Ida, Sandi, and then Taylor in less than a week was really cool." "Karel was super-rad - he cut the time by 10%, and didn't look like he was totally worked."

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Sunny Stroeer's impressive resume includes FKTs on the 22,838ft Aconcagua and its circumnavigation, the Annapurna Circuit, and the Pfiffner Traverse. She left a high-paying job as a management consultant -- but kept her hard-charging attitude -- to spend her days bagging many of the world's tallest summits, climbing big walls, and setting records running in the mountains. "I went by myself solo and unsupported and I got a lot of very strange reactions: 'But, where is your guide? Who are you with? Where is your husband?' ... And that just didn't sit right with me." She talks about closing the gender gap in unsupported outdoor pursuits, her preference for slow/strategic risk, upgrading from her Astrovan home, and her huge list of projects on the near horizon. Listen-in, and then learn more (and hire Sunny as a mountain guide) at http://www.sunnystroeer.com.

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Peter Bakwin is the only person to do the Double Hardrock, the first person to go under 4 days on the John Muir Trail, plus many other races and FKTs, and is one of the co-founders of this website and podcast. Following up with our “3100: Run and Become” interview, Peter describes his experience of self-transcendence while running, and discusses when ultra-running may become unhealthy. “My own experience is that when you bump up against your perceived limits you either stop or you transcend (usually after a complete melt-down). The latter is clearly a spiritual experience, as anyone who has encountered it will know. All of a sudden energy comes from... not you.”

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What if running could lead to enlightenment? This ambitious question is the heart of the documentary 3100: Run and Become. Based around the Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the world’s longest certified footrace, this is an uplifting, intimate portrait of endurance runners who push themselves to the edge of physical and mental collapse, as they endeavor to challenge the boundaries of impossibility. The Director, Sanjay Rawal, is a lifelong runner himself, and he describes a very interesting backstory behind this film which also explores the "Marathon Monks" of Mt Hiei in Japan, and Shaun Martin, a Navaho runner and race director. "Running is a form of prayer. Running is a teacher. Running is a celebration of life."

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Jim Walmsley is one of the best ultrarunners in the world, who a few days ago (12/10/2018), with Tim Freriks and Eric Senseman, set a new FKT on the dramatic and adventurous "R2R2R.alt" in the Grand Canyon. "It's really aesthetic, because the Bass is the only trail other than the Kaibab that goes completely from one Rim to the other, with the only catch being, there is no bridge across the River..." Jim describes their preparation, the size and scope of the Grand Canyon, a scouting trip (“we just stood and looked at the River for 30 minutes”), and finally, what it's like to swim across the Colorado River: "I just took off and swam across … my idea was I wanted to set the tone … we're here to do it, we're not here to chicken out."

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In 2014 Justin Simoni, the “Long Ranger”, bicycled to all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000’ summits, climbed them, then biked to the next in 34+ days. In 2017 he upped the standard and in 60 straight days did the “Highest Hundred” (summits in CO) in the same self-powered, self-supported style. And his background is an artist, not an athlete. “I look back and wonder, 'Did I really do these things?'" Listen to Justin’s thoughtful discussion on “When is it too much?”, and how to determine “Where to draw the line?”. “Something is always going to go wrong. So just anticipate that as being part of the challenge. This just isn’t a physical challenge. Who’s going to stop you? Just your mind.” And lastly, what’s the difference between an FKT, an “OKT”, and Justin’s speciality, the “WTF”?

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Our first-ever live recording! The Trail Running Film Festival was on a nationwide tour when it stopped in Boulder (check to see if it's playing near you), and we recorded questions and comments directly from the audience. Q:  There are 3 styles of FKTs: Supported, Self-Supported, and Unsupported … which one is better? Q: What’s the funnest thing the two of you have done together? Q: What do you guys think about Kilian, and his claim on Everest? Listen to these questions answered on this podcast, along with strategic advice from Peter on setting a new FKT: “If you can’t be fast, be first”.

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Nobody can do the big thru-hikes like Heather Anderson - she once held the Self-Supported Overall (not Female) FKT’s for the PCT, AT, and Arizona Trail - simultaneously.  On November 8 she became the 5th person and 1st woman to do the Calendar Triple Crown - the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Continental Divide Trails in the same year - and the first Female to do the Triple Triple Crown - all three big trails, three times. "My mom still remembers the day, 15 years ago, when I ran down the stairs yelling, 'I’m going to do this!'" On March 1, 2018, her first book, "Thirst, 2600 miles to home" will be published, and is available for download now. Her TED Talk from 2015 is very good. Heather articulates how she approached this hike differently: "My goal was basically to do these trails exactly how I wanted to do them at any given point in time.  It was good, it was refreshing ... I wanted this to unfold; an area of growth for me.  You can't ever go wrong on a long journey; you're always going to come out the other side, with new insights."

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Who is the first person to use the term "Fastest Known Time" in print? Bill Wright co-wrote Speed Climbing: How to Climb Faster and Better in 2004, and has a family, a full-time job, and he climbs, bikes, or runs every day, and he balances all of that by ... going fast. "You don’t have to compete on speed … it's just another way to experience the route, the run, the mountain - but if you do, that just gives you more time to smell the flowers." Is he risking his life? Is scrambling or speed-climbing safe? Listen as Bill's vast experience provides thoughtful views on not only leading a balanced life, but on preserving it: "We put on this scrambling series every fall … Rule #1 is: 'Don’t Die'"

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What’s a 26 year old former marathon runner doing setting the FKT on the fabled Longs Peak North Face (Cables) route? “The FKT idea is real motivating to me - it takes away external pressure, but in other ways it adds more pressure because it’s internal - it’s all up to you.” Kate Hale can run, she can climb, and she can bike; listen to her describe her future goals on Longs Peak: “I feel like I am the most laser-focused when I’m in scenarios like that, and that is a pretty addicting feeling.”

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This past weekend Christof Teuscher became the first person to attempt and complete a quad-crossing of the Grand Canyon. That's Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim times four, (OK... R2R2R2R2R2R2R2R2R)! He completed the quad-crossing in 58 hours and 10 minutes -- 10 hours less than the previous FKT for *three* crossings! Not bad, especially considering he only starting running five years ago. "If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can do these things. What I thought was impossible is possible -- if you put in the training." We speak with Christof about his remarkable feat.

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Kyle Richardson was only 22 years old on Aug 1, when he set the new FKT on the high and technical LA Freeway. His time of 16hrs 28mins 53secs bettered the time of 16hrs 59mins set by Matthias Messner just last year. “The LA Freeway links Longs Peak, the tallest in Rocky Mountain National Park, with Arapaho Peak, the tallest in the Indian Peaks. It’s above 12,000 feet the entire time. It’s an iconic line - this is what you see on the skyline looking west.” “For 14 hours I didn’t see a soul, even though I was right above Boulder, almost in sight of Denver”. There was no water the entire distance, so Kyle describes how he stashed 3 liters of water in two locations, and why this Self-Supported style made the most sense. The route is rated 5.6 in difficulty, but Kyle was ready for it: “Find what inspires you. Then put in the time to learn the route; respect the route. Practice."

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David Horton won the first two editions of the Hardrock 100, finished the Barkley Marathons, has both run and biked across the country, and was the only person to hold the overall FKT on both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He knows a thing or two, including thoughts about the recent FKT action on the fabled AT. “Scott Jurek was phenomenal - he dug deep deep deep into the pain cave. What Jurek did was above and beyond what I’ve ever seen, anywhere. But does he have it deep down for another one? I’m not sure.” David's FKT on the PCT is documented in the 77 minute video, “The Runner”, and last years, “Extraordinary” is an 88 minute fictionalized account of David and his wife. David has run 113,000 miles. Listen to one of the most venerable FKT and ultrarunners ever, as he describes his newfound sport of cycling, and how it was the pavement, not the trails, that wore his knees out. “I’m still an athlete, I still compete. And I can’t ever imagine not being an athlete … can you?”

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Alyssa is a “Professional Triathlete who can’t seem to shake her ultrarunning habit”. She has finished 30 Ironman Triathlons, 40 ultra races, and once finished 4th in the Taiwan Ironman using all borrowed gear. On July 31, 2018, she set a new women's FKT on Vermont’s 273mi Long Trail of 5 days, 2 hours. Alyssa describes being inspired by Jennifer Pharr Davis and Nikki Kimball, both of whose Long Trail times she bettered, while noting, “Last year was my 4th as a professional triathlete. I needed to do something different - I needed to keep my fire lit”. She once did two Ironmans on successive weekends in different continents, but notes, “The Long Trail was way harder - the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The terrain is so variable - unless you’ve spent time on this trail it’s hard to describe - it changes every few hundred meters - it’s soul-crushing. Alyssa notes that women tend to want to be very prepared before they undertake something, while men are willing to jump in, even if they’re not 100%. So her advice to women? “Go do it. There’s nothing stopping you, because you get to make it your own. It’s like your own version of The Amazing Race - you get to do that yourself with FKTs”.

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Scott is one of the best ultrarunners in history, winning the Hardrock 100, Badwater in Death Valley, the Spartathlon in Greece, and an unprecedented 7 wins in a row at the Western States 100. In 2016 he and his wife Jenny took on a personal project, the 2,200mi Appalachian Trail, setting a new FKT of 46 days, 9 hours. This journey became a book on the New York Times Best Seller List, entitled, "North: Finding My Way on the Appalachian Trail." “We didn’t have all the beta … we wanted the full adventure … if we were to go back we would do a million things different. But it was a great experience, and exactly what we needed.” Listen as they describe the range of emotions experienced on an FKT of this length, and how it’s difficult to to write about their friends, who are all very accomplished people, and also colorful characters … and who still are their friends. Jenny predicts how fast the FKT on the AT will go, and Scott describes what is next for him. Podcast music by Sage Baptiste (instagram.com/imsagebaptiste & @whatablr) and mixed by Kyle Richardson (instagram.com/kylerichardson).

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Learn how a Belgian dentist set the FKT on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016, then in 2018, was over four days faster on the Appalachian Trail than two of the fastest ultra-runners in the US. We speak with Karel Sabbe and his support crew, Joren Biebuyck, about their remarkable feat. "I start to hit my stride after 2,000 miles." -- Karel Sabbe Podcast music by Sage Baptiste (instagram.com/imsagebaptiste & soundcloud.com/whatablr) and mixed by Kyle Richardson (instagram.com/kylerichardson).

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“Sometimes being successful means just getting back to the car. Alive.” Tony Krupicka is one of the most famous ultra-runners in the world, the figurehead of the minimalism movement, who made a transition to climbing, biking, and skiing, and who continues to inspire thousands with his creative adventures. Podcast music by Sage Baptiste (instagram.com/imsagebaptiste & soundcloud.com/whatablr) and mixed by Kyle Richardson (instagram.com/kylerichardson).

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