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)


Bruce Trail, (Supported), Ontario
Chantal Warriner, 12d15h14m, 7/1-13
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

Zion Traverse, Utah
Hayden Hawks, 6h50m49s, 4/14
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
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15 thoughts on “Fastest Known Time Of the Year Award

  1. Thank you for understanding the importance of putting Darcy on this list. Controversy aside, she shattered the crap out of the JMT and left everything she had out there. Mad mad respect for her.

  2. Would have been cool to see something colder make the list as well. I would have put the Dorais brothers’ Liberty Ridge FKT on the list. The most iconic, moderate route on one of NAs most iconic mountains. A 50 classic. Traditionally done in many days, rarely done in 24 hrs. They banged it out it in 7:07.

    • Good call out! And although this is very worthy, it might stray into the “climbing” area. For the purposes of simplicity and comparison we stay out of FKT’s that are primarily other sports. It’s a gray area, particularly re speed climbing (the Nose Record is faster than most people can hike up the side!) So we’ve established these FKT inclusions:
      * Must have taken longer than one hour to accomplish
      * Can have any degree of technicality, but ropes can be employed for less than 5% of the elapsed time
      * Running and Hiking are both fine, and any other transport must only be self-propelled (skiing, paddling, cycling, climbing, etc), and Running and/or Hiking must comprise at least 50% of the elapsed time.

      • The route is less technical than LA or the centennials. Clearly ski-based travel is a little more niche in the FKT community. Still, I think their route ticks most of your boxes.
        -07:07 > 1 hr.
        -AFAIK they never broke out a rope
        -They ran the dry approach, skinned most of the glacier crossing and hiked the ridge (in a similar sense that LA FW can be considered hiking). I’d guarantee their ascent rate (a metric for technicality) is well above that for a complex rock scrambling route., Even ignoring skinning, I bet they spent close to 50% of their day hiking or running. With skinning, clearly more.

        It is plausible that in the coming months or years, traditional running FKTs could fall to skis given the advantages on descent – namely Nolan’s. Seems worth considering it going forward IMO.

        • Excellent thoughts! Looks like we missed this one. We also missed Sandra Villines Trans-Am record. We rely on people telling us things and thus can miss significant efforts.
          I’d love to see a Nolan’s 14 in April or May!

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  4. perhaps a more accurate criteria for too much “climbing” is just the overall need for technical equipment. Ice tools, crampons, ropes, rock shoes all kinda go against the unencumbered ethos of a fast and light run.

    • Yes, solo w/o pacers is harder. Thus FKT’s are recorded as to what general level of support was used. However, our system intentionally describes all the styles as “separate but equal” – we only post what happened, and everyone else, including those voting on the FKTOY can decide what they appreciate the most.

  5. Pretty inspiring list!

    Perhaps too much on the ski side of things, but Katie Bono set the women’s record on Denali in June in just over 21 hours.

    I was also really impressed by Sean O’Rourke’s traverse of the Northern Pickets in Washington in 28.5 hours. Not only was it a huge amount of ground to cover in a single push, but the Pickets are about as “out there” as it is possible to get in the lower 48 and he climbed tons of loose, exposed terrain onsight and without a rope.

    • Excellent call outs Nick! Denali might be too much ski (just to keep the list manageable, each FKT must be at least 50% running or hiking), but the Pickets sound great. People should post here so the effort doesn’t get missed: (and in March a NEW and improved website is coming). Plus we should ask you to be a Voter next year so you can help fill in these gaps!

  6. Since all of these are not specially 100% trail, what about Sandra Vi’s trans-con recorded?

    • Good question! Unfortunate answer: we missed it! It wasn’t posted to, our Voters didn’t call it out during the initial review, and then we couldn’t add it after the voting started (voting has to be rigorously fair). A great effort and our apologies to Sandra.

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