What is the best Fastest Known Time of 2016?

The “FKT” has arrived!  Runners all over the world now understand and use the term, and may expend more effort going for a Fastest Known Time than in a regular race.

So the time has come for a “Fastest Known Time of The Year” Award!  Following the long-standing Ultra Runner of the Year (“UROY”) awards that have recognized and celebrated the sport’s best since 1981, the FKTOY award will recognize the top FKT by a Female and by a Male. The purpose is to learn, appreciate, and be inspired by the accomplishments of others. No one actually wins anything – just the respect of their peers.

So a list of top candidates was created by Peter Bakwin from his FKT site, then a group of 21 experienced runners were recruited to vote … and after much deliberation, their votes decided it!  It was an amazing process.  The winners will be announced next week in Ultrarunning Magazine and on this blog, along with brief comments from the Voters as to why each was valued (Hint: they ALL were incredible, but two more so than the others :-)

So here is the list of candidates and what they did.  What do YOU think about these routes?  Which do YOU think should be the inaugural FKTOY?  Please post your Comments below.

FEMALE (all in chronological order)

Joelle Vaught – 5/20; Trans Zion; 48 mi; 8h, 26m, 9s – Sweet route crossing Zion NP on trails; previous FKT’s by Krissy Moehl and Bethany Lewis.

Amber Monforte – 7/22-26; John Muir Trail Unsupported; 222 mi; 4d, 1h, 13m – One of the mostly hotly-contested long trail routes. Only 5h 13m slower than Sue J’s 2007 Supported record.

Gina Lucrezi – 8/10; Mt Whitney (car-car); 22 mi; 5h, 29m, 22s – 6,000′ vert in 11mi to highest point in lower 48 states; first known attempt by a Woman.

Heather Anderson – 10/7-27; Arizona Trail Self-Supported; 800 mi; 19d, 17h, 9m – “Anish” now holds the Overall Self-Supported records for the AT, PCT, and the AZT.

Meghan Hicks – 9/9-11; Nolan’s 14; 100 mi; 59h, 36m – Open Course tagging 14 14ers; few trails, lots of navigation, tons of vert. Supported.

Sue Johnston – 1/1-12/26; 4000ers Calendar Grid; 3,159 mi; one year – All 48 New Hampshire 4,000′ summits every month for a year. Reported 3,159 mi, 993,970′ vert for the project (1,001,830′ for the year!), and hiking 205 days.
Yikes!  Stout stuff!  What about the guys?

Ryan Ghelfi – 7/6; Mt Shasta Ascent; 1h, 37m, 5s – This used to be an actual race. Ryan beat FKT’s by Rickey Gates, and John Muir from 1874!
Uli Steidl – 7/26; Mt Rainier (car-car); 4h, 24m, 30s – Bettered Willie Benegas 2008 time. This is the Runners Record; there are separate records for Skiers (which is faster).
Leor Pantilat – 8/6-10; Sierra High Route Unsupported; 195 mi; 4d, 16h, 21m – Technically difficult for most runners so few attempts have been made; this took 3 days off the previous FKT. Roughly paralleing the JMT but above it, mostly off-trail, with 3rd Class sections and navigation.
Nick Elson – 8/13; Grand Traverse; 17 mi; 6h, 30m, 49s – Legendary alpinist Alex Lowe had this FKT, then Rolo Garibotti at 6h, 49m for 15 years. 10 Teton summits, 12,000′ vert, climbing up to 5.8 grade, free solo.
Joe Grant – 7/26-8/26; Colorado 14ers Self-Powered, Self Supported; 400 mi; 31d, 8h, 33m – 3+ days faster than Justin Simoni from previous year. Start/Finish at his house, hike/run 400mi, bike 1,100mi, climb 57 14ers, no Support.
Karl Meltzer – 8/3-9/18; Appalachian Trail Supported; 2,189 mi; 45d, 22h, 38m – Speedgoat’s 3rd try took about 9 hrs off Jurek’s time from previous year. This is the original long trail, featuring David Horton, Pete Palmer, Andrew Thompson, Jen Pharr-Davis, Scott Jurek, and countless before.
Jim Walmsley – 10/4; Grand Canyon R2R2R; 42.2 mi; 5h, 55m, 20s – Took 25m off Rob Krar’s 2013. Super classic route. Blazing 2h 46m S-N to begin, which is an R2R FKT going in the slowest direction.
Pete Kostelnick – 9/12-10/24; Trans America; 3,067 mi; 42d, 6h, 30m – Goes way back to the “Bunion Derby” days of the 1920’s Broke 36 year old FKT by 4 days. 72mi/day for 6 weeks.
Incredible!  How does one choose between these?  The Voters were allowed to vote for up to 5, ranking them accordingly, then the scores were added up.  Find out what happened next week, and let us know what YOU think now by posting your Comment.
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18 thoughts on “What is the best Fastest Known Time of 2016?

    • Good question. For the inaugural FKTOY, we kept the potential list very small so it would be easy to deal with – this got left off maybe because of Anish’s Unsupported effort – maybe that was a mistake! If so, apologies to Michael for his outstanding FKT. The FKTOY will be back next year, better planned and more organized.

      • I concur! Versteeg definitely deserves to be on the list with his Arizona Trail FKT. Finally a serious effort on that trail! Thanks Buzz for spearheading this overdue vote.

  1. Pingback: Ultramarathon Daily News, Thurs, Feb 9 – Ultramarathon News, Podcasts, and Product Reviews

    • This is true, and unfortunately is intentional: we lack the ability to know everything that is happening in the world, so followed the UROY rules and limited it to people who live in the US and Canada. For the FKTOY for 2017, we plan to expand it to Europe and Down Under, and have already talked to people in those continents who can keep track.

    • Turns out, Sue completed the Grid a tad under so she threw in some extra effort in the last days of 2016, and notched an astounding 1,001,830 feet!

  2. Pete Kostelnick’s mark should say 42* days (not “2”.) It’s helpful when considering his mark to research the sri chinmoy 3100 past results (CR is held by Ashprihanal Pekka Aalto in 41d:9hrs; 23 hours ahead of second best Wolfgang Schwerk (2:27 marathoner), who was one of Kouros’ few credible competitors for 24 hours and beyond). It’s a tough list to rank.

    • Right! Ranking these is very tough – which is what makes it interesting and educational. (And Pete’s typo is now corrected – thanks).

  3. Possible Typo. It says
    Pete Kostelnick – 9/12-10/24; Trans America; 3,067 mi; 2d, 6h, 30m

    Shouldn’t there be some weeks in there, too? If not, then he should definitely win! :)

  4. I’m not an “everyone’s a winner” person, but it’s extremely subjective to state one is the best. These are all so different. Does it have any meaning to name one as such? How about exploring the difficulties and achievements of each? There would be far more learning and appreciation by doing that than by somewhat arbitrarily naming one the “best.” These folks have all earned the respect of their peers.

    • You are correct and we agree! The Award is basically a process through which we could learn about amazing projects, be inspired, and get ideas for our own endeavors. It’s just like a race – everyone “wins” and benefits, even though only one person officially does. However, the FKTOY Award wasn’t arbitrary – 21 really experienced people voted. Remarkably, not a single voter cast their votes the same as the final results – it was a true group process – I think it worked.

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