Fastest Known Time Of the Year Award

It’s back! An Award for the most notable FKT of the Year.  There’s no big prize – actually no prize whatsoever – but that’s not why we do FKT’s is it?  We want to do and read about what’s cool, what’s exciting and new, what has meaning for us.  So Peter Bakwin with help from Buzz Burrell compiles a list of the big standouts for 2017, then a panel votes for their favs.  There is one Award for Women and one for Men.
nolans sunrise
What do YOU think?  Here’s the complete list … what amazes you most?  Are you inspired to give any of these a shot?
(Listings in chronological order)

WOMEN:

Bruce Trail, (Supported), Ontario
Chantal Warriner, 12d15h14m, 7/1-13
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/392/bruce-trail-tobermory-niagara-ontario
The 900km Bruce Trail has become a popular target for multi-day FKT efforts in eastern Canada. The previous FKT was 13d6h28m by Virginia Gingras (2015).

4 Passes Loop, Colorado
Anna Mae Flynn, 5h38m29s, 7/18
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/22/maroon-bells-passes-loop
One of the most classic and competitive short mountain routes in Colorado.  This FKT has previously been held by Gina Lucrezi, Sandi Nypaver and most recently by Megan Lizotte (6h2m35s, 2015).

Wonderland Trail (Unsupported), Washington
Mallory Brooks & Allison Macsas, 29h12m25s, 8/14-15
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/40/wonderland-trail-wa
Brooks & Macsas were unsupported, but they were met along the way by friends for purposes of documentation.  The supported FKT is 22h4m47s by Jen Shelton.

Mt Whitney ascent, California
Tina Lewis, 2h57m9s, 8/16
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/47/mt-whitney-ca
Mt Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states, and so an automatic classic.  The men’s FKT has been contested for years, but only recently have serious attempts been reported by women.  Lewis’ ascent via the somewhat technical Mountaineer’s Route beat Charity Dubberley’s time for the same route, set just 1 week earlier, by 13 minutes.  Dubberley has the faster car-to-car time (5h10m51s, vs. 5h36m3s).

John Muir Trail, (Supported), California
Darcy Piceu, 3d7h57m, 9/15-17
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/21/john-muir-trail-ca
Piceu’s time smashed the 10-year-old FKT of Sue Johnston by a whopping 12 hours, and at one point was on track for the Mens FKT. There was some controversy because of a small and unintentional route finding error:  Piceu (and pacer Betsy Nye) took the Mist Trail part of the way down into Yosemite Valley, very near the end of the run. 

Calif Coastal Trail OKT, (Self-Supported) California
Natalie Larson, 44d18h40m, 8/20-10/4
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/1494/california-coastal-trail
The CCT combines wilderness, beach and “urban” running/hiking for 1,200 miles along the coast of CA.  More of an OKT (Only Known Time), Larson’s self supported trip was an adventure in every sense, and was documented by satellite tracking and an evocative, complete report (worth reading).

Ozark Highlands Trail, (Supported), Arkansas
Ashley Nordell, 2d10h46m, 10/27-29
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/28/ozark-highlands-trail-ar
Nordell has the fastest time Overall (Women & Men).  The previous best was also by a woman, Jenny Foster, 2d14h25m (2009).

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim (N-S), Arizona
Alicia Vargo, 3h19m23s, 11/8
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/13/grand-canyon-az
While the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (R2R2R) has been a major target for decades, the R2R has seen relatively little interest.  The previous women’s best (set S-N) was done as part of the R2R2R.  Vargo gave the R2R a serious shot on its own, which may inspire more women to go after this logical route.

Cat Bradley, 7h52m20s, 11/15
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/13/grand-canyon-az
The R2R2R is clearly one of the most classic routes in NA.  Bradley made it a major goal, and turned in an excellent result, besting Bethany Lewis’ previous (2011) FKT by more than 23 min.
Darcy3
MEN:

Zion Traverse, Utah
Hayden Hawks, 6h50m49s, 4/14
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/14/trans-zion-ut
An excellent 48-mile route across Zion National Park that has attracted some serious competition, with the FKT being held by Jared Campbell & Karl Meltzer, Matt Hart, Luke Nelson, Travis Macy, and Mike Foote & Justin Yates.  Hawks took over 30min off the FKT of Foote & Yates, and raised fund for the National Parks.

Holy Nolan’s OKT, (Supported), Colorado
Andrew Hamilton, 71h32m, 6/29-7/2
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/355/nolans-14
Hamilton is the undisputed King of the Colorado 14ers, holding the FKT for CO 14ers (all 58 peaks).  This was his 3rd Nolan’s finish, and he holds the FKT for doing the Nolan’s route Unsupported.  Here he added Holy Cross, to link up all fifteen 14ers in the Sawatch Range in one push that added about 25 miles of on & off-trail travel to Nolan’s.  Besides being the first to finish “Holy Nolan’s”, he set the Nolan’s FKT in the process (which was later superseded by Iker Karrera.)

Presidential Traverse, New Hampshire
Ben Thompson, 4h29m55s, 7/6
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/33/presidential-traverse-nh
This popular and logical route traverses the Presidential Range in NH.  Since 2009 the FKT has been traded back and forth several times between Ben Nephew, Ryan Welts and Jan Wellford, often beating each other’s times by just a few minutes.  Ben Thompson took nearly 5 minutes off of Nephew’s 2013 time. It’s a good bet we’ll see Nephew try to get it back.

Colorado’s Highest 100 Peaks, (Self-supported/Self-powered), Colorado
Justin Simoni, 60d14h59m42s (OKT), 7/18-9/16
http://highesthundred.com/http://longranger.justinsimoni.com/2017/10/01/tour-of-the-highest-hundred-completed/
Following on 2014’s self-supported / self-powered tour (and FKT at the time) of Colorado’s 58 14ers, Simoni upped the ante to include the highest 100 peaks in the state; every official summit over about 13,800’.  The high 13ers are more obscure and some are technically more challenging than the 14ers. Simoni biked 1,720 and hiked 624 miles, and gained enough vert to get into outer space – 247,810′ by foot and 136,374′ by bike. 

Nolan’s 14 (Supported), Colorado
Iker Karrera, 47h40m, 8/1-3
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/355/nolans-14
A Colorado classic that has attracted international attention, this is a very sturdy route: 14 summits over 14,000’, about 100 miles, 44,000’ of vert, about half off-trail.  Iker bested Andrew Hamilton’s time from June (see above) by 6h2m, including much time spent being lost.

LA Freeway, Colorado
Matthias Messner, 16h59m, 8/6
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/169/pfiffner-traverse-la-freeway
The LA Freeway links Longs Peak with South Arapaho Peak in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and Indian Peaks Wilderness.  The route follows the crest and summits all the peaks, traversing roughly 34 miles, mostly above 12,000’ elevation, and requires numerous sections of 4th and 5th Class climbing.  While this was envisioned by Carl Pfiffner in the 1950s, it wasn’t completed in a seamless push until 2002, when Buzz Burrell did it in 2 days with a bivouac.  Messner was only the second person to complete the LAF, and he set an entirely new standard by doing the route in only 16h59m.

Pawnee-Buchanan Loop, Colorado
Andrew Skurka, 4h46m32s, 8/16
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/31/pawnee-buchanan-loop
Along with the Maroon Bells Four Passes loop, this is one of the most classic and scenic 1-day runs in the mountains of Colorado. Skurka took 4 minutes off Anton Krupicka’s 2010 time.

Appalachian Trail, (Self-Supported), East Coast
Joe McConaughy, 45d12h15m, 7/17-8/31
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/6/appalachian-trail
The AT has a long history of very strong efforts, with the men including David Horton 91, Pete Palmer 99, Andrew Thompson 05, Scott Jurek 15, and Karl Meltzer 16, all Supported. Stringbean bettered them all while going Self-supported, being 10 hours faster than “Speedgoat” from the previous year.

Colorado Trail, (Supported) Colorado
Bryan Williams, 8d0h30m, 8/26-9/3
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/10/colorado-trail
Williams elected to take the Collegiate West option, which is apparently a little longer (83 vs. 78 miles?), with more vert and a generally higher altitude, than the Collegiate East route that has been taken by other FKT trips.  Nevertheless, he beat Scott Jamie’s 2013 time by over 7 hours.

Bruce Trail (Supported), Ontario, Canada
Adam Burnett, 9d21h14m, 9/1-11
Approx 900km. Previous best was 10d13h57m by Jim Willet, 2014.
The 44-year-old from Toronto lowered the solo fastest-known time by more than 13 hours.

Pemigewasset Loop, New Hampshire
Ben Thompson, 6h6m53s, 9/12
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/32/pemigewasset-loop-nh
The Pemi Loop is another major White Mtns classic, and the FKT has been hotly contested for many years. Thompson took just over 3 minutes off Ben Nephew’s 2015 FKT time.  These times are tight.

Grand Canyon R2R (N-S) Arizona
Tim Freriks, 2h39m38s, 10/1
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/13/grand-canyon-az
Freriks was supported by Jim Walmsley, who had the previous fastest R2R of 2h46m8s (2016) set during his R2R2R FKT run.  These are fast times – Rob Krar had run 2h51m28s in 2012 as a dedicated R2R effort.

John Muir Trail (Supported), California
Francois D’Haene, 2d19h26m, 10/14-17
http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/21/john-muir-trail-ca
The 2017 UTMB winner smashed the previous supported FKT by over 12 hours, running the route northbound, and was the first person to complete the route under 3 days. His approach was unusual in that by choosing to run in mid-October he gave up daylight in exchange for cooler temperatures and easier access to hiking permits for the area. He also had pacers the entire way, probably a first.
Simoni
An amazing list.  The Top 5 will be announced starting on January 21, and published in Ultrarunning Magazine, due to ship on January 25.  Please Post your Comments below – we’d love to hear what you think!

Hillary Allen Talks Recovery and Plans for 2018

Hillary AllenTrail runners around the world hold a special affection for Colorado born-and-raised Hillary Allen. Her infectious smile and world-class skill in the most difficult skyraces launched a career that was set-back by a severe fall this summer. Hillary stopped by #UDHQ to fill us in on her recovery and how the injuries have impacted her physically, mentally and emotionally. Leave a comment if you can relate to recovering from injury and battling the mental and physical trials along the way…

YOUR INJURY: DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED…

My specialty is skyrunning. I really enjoy the technicality of this type of running, often using my hands to scramble and navigate ridges. It’s the steep terrain and technical trails that keep skyrunning interesting and challenging. I was competing in an extreme skyrace in Tromso, Norway (they call it “extreme” due to its demanding terrain, ridges and elevation profile…it’s STEEP).

This was my last race of the season (in Europe) before coming home to focus on a personal project (the Sierra High Route FKT, the RUT and potentially traveling back to Europe to claim my World Sky Running title).

That all changed on August 5th.

At the halfway point, I was on Hamperokken ridge (the very technical bit) and I fell off of the ridge, at the worst point possible, falling 150 feet, 50 of which were a free fall. This was followed by a succession of impacts down the mountain until I finally came to a halt.

I don’t remember the fall at all; what I remember is a dream-like state of floating through the air and coming to with Killian Jornet, Ian Corless, Martina Valmassoi and a racer (Manu Parr) all around me.

It wasn’t until 3 days later that I realized the accident and the fall happened to ME. It was like a rug had gotten pulled out from under me and I was airborne with my brain telling me that I was going to die and I should brace myself for impact. That repeated itself until I was knocked out and came to with the doctors, helicopter and hospital. I was told (by Ian Corless and Martina Valmassoi, both photographers who witnessed my fall) that there was rock fall that moved as I crossed over the ridge, causing me to fall.

My injuries were extensive yet I was extremely lucky. I broke both wrists and arms, I broke two ribs, bruised a lung, I broke two vertebrae (L4 and L5), had a concussion, broke four bones in my right foot, popped a ligament in my right foot and severely sprained my other ankle.

WHERE ARE YOU IN THE RECOVERY PROCESS NOW?

The recovery process has been extensive. I wasn’t able to use crutches since I had two broken wrists. I wasn’t able to walk well on my severely sprained ankle so I had a scooter. I’m off of the scooter now and easing back into activity on my own two feet. It’s about four months post-accident. The hardest part is my feet. The ligament fracture in my right foot is a lisfranc fracture (like an ACL in your knee); it’s essential to proper foot function, so healing is very important for a return to running.

My “supposedly” good foot is actually not good at all. I sprained the ankle so severely, that its mobility is very limited, even four months post-accident, and this is limiting my movement even more than my operated foot. But, I am not paralyzed, which I could’ve been given my L4 and L5 fractures.

I am able to hike and jog downhill although I have to be careful with jumping and stability since both of my feet are unstable. I hike with poles to help with that. I can go up almost just as fast as running (especially when it’s steep) but the actual running will take a while since I don’t want to force it and cause compensation issues. I can ski (carefully downhill), but I’m happy to get out and do some touring. I’m also doing PT diligently every day at Revo Physical Therapy. Oh and cross training…I might break the stair climber machine at the rec center :).

I still have another surgery to do in February where they will remove the screws in my foot. This will help me to return to running and training. After the recovery period of course.

WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY MOTIVATOR THROUGH YOUR REHAB? 

My primary motivator is just to get back to enjoying the outdoors; to not take running for granted and to explore with my own two feet.

Also to not let myself down.

WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED? 

Showering. Being completely reliant on other people. Not being able to drive for 10 weeks and still having to get to work and do my PT and the grocery store and do normal every day things.

Every daily task initially was a challenge, from getting dressed to cooking to figuring out if I could eat dinner at a restaurant with friends.

Going up and down stairs on my butt was a fun challenge. To be in the middle of my season, winning the Skyrunning World Series, to then being completely immobile and incapacitated, that was intense, emotionally draining, depressing, and at times impossible.

I still struggle with this helpless feeling from time to time.

DO you think you’ll be back to full strength & racing in 2018?

I’m not setting any racing goals in 2018. What appeals to me is my FKT attempt on the Sierra High Route (SHR). I was supposed to do this back in August, but with the accident, that was impossible. I think doing the SHR would be a good challenge for me, a year out from my accident, it would give me a chance to train and given the nature of the SHR, it might suit me well, since it’s more of a fast packing/trekking route than an all-out run.

But I’m keeping it relaxed. I will see how training goes after I’m cleared to run after my second surgery in February. I would like to do some later season races (fall) if I’m feeling ready. My main goal in 2018 is to get back to enjoying training outside and getting as strong as I can.

HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS AN ATHLETE SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED TRAIL RUNNING? DO YOU Still have the fire burning?

I have most definitely evolved as a trail runner and athlete. I’m fortunate to be a part of brands (like UD and TNF and Skratch) that allow me to dream and to explore. It’s about running fast during races, but more so now, it’s about challenging myself and others to push themselves to places they never thought they could go.

The other side of things is evolving as an athlete. I want to combine running and climbing routes, to become a better mountain athlete as a whole, not just a trail runner.

What’s new with Ultimate Direction in 2018?

Insta_12.6.17_AllieSpotlight (1)We know you’re eager to hear what’s coming in 2018 from Ultimate Direction so we sat down with our icicle-haired designer Ally Juhasz (…don’t worry, it has fully melted) to find out what’s coming in the new year and what inspires UD product. Ally is a super talented designer with experience at sportswear brands Under Armour and Obermeyer. She’s motivated to design the finest products for self-propelled athletes. Let’s meet Ally…

 

how do you define your position at Ultimate Direction?

I am a designer/developer at UD.  I work mainly on our wearable gear category which we are significantly expanding for spring 2019.

What drew you to ud?

A lot of what drew me to Ultimate Direction was that I felt it was a brand that would truly allow me to design exceptional product. We have a small but passionate team with great energy.

We have a never-ending flow of ideas and enough resources to implement them. At the same time we’re small enough to not wind up a “design by committee” when it comes to product decision-making.

What can customers expect from the brand in 2018?

In 2018, we will be expanding our Adventure category and have added a very innovative trekking pole and gaiter.

We will be offering the lightest trekking pole on the market as well as a super-fitted, stretch Cordura gaiter with a replaceable strap.

What challenges do your designs solve?

Two factors that I always keep in mind when working on product for UD are comfort and weight. The biggest challenge we face here is maximizing the comfort-to-weight ratio.

Many of our customers will be wearing UD products over long distances and for extended periods of time so everything we make needs to have a customizable, chafe-free fit, done in as minimal a package as possible.

What is your goal for our product in 2018?

My goal for 2018 is to see the brand become more approachable for people who are involved in other “self propelled” activities outside of, or in addition to ultrarunning. In 2018 we have broadened our range of products to help athletes with a wide variety of outdoor pursuits and have also started to offer more multi-use product.

Ultrarunning will always be at the core of UD product but we want to give our customers even more reasons to interact with the brand.