What Is FKT Running?
FKT, or Fastest Known Time, is a community for runners that live for competition. There’s no entry fee, and fastest time races can take place whenever you are ready!
To compete, pick a trail in your hometown (or better yet – schedule a fun road trip to a route that looks appealing). Track your progress with a GPS device that can be saved in a compatible format, upload photos, and bask in the glory of setting a world record!
The routes on FKT aren’t just dull routes that users uploaded; they must meet a few requirements before they can be confirmed. They must be historically or aesthetically pleasing, and they must clock in at over 5 miles long, and they can be completed on roads, trails, or even off-trail.
Are you ready to be a world record holder?
How To Plan For FKT?
Once you find a route that you can get excited about, the next step is preparation. The amount of preparation depends upon the length and difficulty of the course.
For a shorter 5 mile trail, you won’t need as much preparation. Train for this route like you are training for a 5k or other race style. It’s called Fastest Known Time, not Almost Fastest Known Time, so be prepared to leave the current record holder in your dust!
Long trails such as long-distance trail races and ultramarathons that span over a few days (or even a month!) require a little bit more time to prepare. Where will you sleep? How much food and water do you need to take? Are their hiking rest stops along the way or places to grab a bite to eat? Will you go in supported or unsupported?
Make sure that you do your due diligence to study the route you want to take. Make a scheduled plan and stick to it.
What’s the Difference between Unsupported, Self-Supportive, and Supportive?
Knowing the difference between the three categories of support is super important. You can opt to be Unsupported, Self-Supported, or Supported. Each FKT attempt has records holders in all three categories.
So, what’s the difference between these styles, and which one is best for you?
Unsupported: This method is exactly as it sounds. It’s nothing but you, the bag you packed, and the road ahead. Unsupported attempts eliminate the ability to stop and buy rations, sleep at a hotel, or even grab an energy bar at a gas station. You can have spectators and support at the beginning and end of the attempt, but nowhere in between.
Due to the rigid rules of an Unsupported attempt, it limits the length of the trek. For most, a Self-Supported attempt is the best option.
Self-Supported: A Self-supported attempt still means you are making your way alone with a little outside help. You can plant ration caches on the route, use aid stations, stay at hotels, stop at diners for food, or even rest at a hotel. However, you can’t rely on friends or other support members to carry your things or provide help along the way.
It’s super important to note that if you want to hold the record for your route as Self-supported, you will need to beat the time of a previous Unsupported record holder.
Supported: A Supported attempt allows participants to bring an entire team with them along the way. These team members can do anything from carrying supplies, food, equipment, and emotional support. They can do just about anything except carrying you!
As with the Self-supported method, to earn the top spot for a Supported attempt, you also must beat the FKT of the Unsupported record holder.
How Do I Track And Upload My FKT?
Before you can bask in the glory of a worldwide record holder, you need to make sure that you have the right tools to track your progress. If competing in a shorter trail, a simple smartwatch with GPS functionality works just fine.
I highly suggest doing a brief trial run before your official attempt. Track a quick run around the block, and then go into your watch settings under the activity to find the command’ Export as GPX file’ and send it to your email. If all goes well, you are ready for your attempt!
For longer attempts, I suggest investing in a dedicated GPS tracker such as Garmin GPSMAP 64st.
What Type Of Routes Are Found On FKT?
There is no shortage of available FKT routes. With over 3,200 user-uploaded and site-approved courses all over the globe, it won’t be too difficult finding one that appeals to you. These routes span from beginner-level trails that start at 5 miles to epic adventures along the PCT that clock in at hundreds of miles.
Of these 3,200 routes, all have been approved by FKT. These routes have to meet a few critical requirements before they are approved. First, they must hold some regional or aesthetic significance.
I quickly searched the routes in my hometown and wasn’t too surprised to find a trail running route with a locally beloved waterfall among the courses listed.
The most popular routes in the US? Here’s a short list:
- Colorado Trail
- Appalachian Trail
- Grand Canyon Crossings
- John Muir Trail
- New Hampshire 4000 Footers
- Nolan’s 14
- Tahoe Rim Trail
- Wonderland Trail
To find a complete list of routes, check the fastestknowntime.com site.
How To Upload A Route
If you feel a trail in your hometown is a perfect fit for FKT, you can submit it to their website. Upload the GPS route to their website (compatible formats include GPX, KML, KMZ, or GeoJSON), add the distance, photos from the route, and a brief description of why fellow athletes would be interested in this route!
Not all submitted routes are accepted, so make sure that your submission meets their guidelines. Make sure that your course is interesting, holds some historical or aesthetic significance, and is already part of an established race route.
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