Fastest Known Times

A Fastest Known Time (FKT) is exactly what its name suggests: the fastest time on a particular trail from defined start and end points. The reason for the development of FKTs is that people want to challenge themselves on trails that are either too remote, on restricted land, too long for a traditional race, or merely trails where no races are currently organized. The "Known" part of a FKT acknowledges that not all attempts are recorded and that by their very nature FKTs are events that anyone can take part in when it suits them.

In order to maintain consistency in various attempts at the same route there are some general guidelines that relate to whether the attempt is supported, self-supported or unsupported. An important aspect of measuring and maintaining records is that the runners are honest and share the details of their attempts so there is some clarity on the route and method of the attempt. Buzz Burrell (a holder of multiple long-distance FKTs in the US and a few around the world) has proposed the following guidelines:

  • Announce your intentions in advance. Pay respects to those who came before you, and tell them what you intend to attempt and when.
  • Invite anyone to come and watch or, better yet, participate. 
  • Record your event. Write down everything immediately on completion. Memory doesn't count.

Fastest Known Time lists
There is one well-known list of FKTs kept by Peter Bakwin as an online notice board, the Fastest Known Time Proboard. This notice board has extensive lists of FKTs in the US, FKTs on certain mountains in the US and a few other general FKTs on well known trails outside the US. The forum nature of the notice board allows it to be regularly updated by anyone and for the board to function as a place to announce your attempt and invite others to join you.

In Chile, TrailChile recently started a list of challenges on well-known trails here. Matias Bull has a list of 7 challenges (desafios), mostly on the trails and mountains around Santiago and a few on other well-known routes outside Santiago. The lists are new so some only have one or no entries meaning FKTs are in reach for anyone willing to give these routes a try!

Recent FKT attempts
Although I haven't known about Fastest Known Times for very long, it seems that there have been a large number of recent attempts to set new records. Here are some interesting stories that provide the detail of what is required to attempt a new record time:

The ones I'd like to try!
There are two routes that I'd like to try for the FKT in Chile. The first is on Cerro Manquehue, a mountain I run on very regularly and is visible from my apartment and most areas in the city. It's a 6-7km climb with about 1,000m elevation gain from the city to the highest point in the city bowl:

TrailChile's route on Cerro Manquehue.

The second is the Torres del Paine O + W trail. This is a much bigger challenge as a new record was recently set and it's a long trail of 120km. This might turn into an expedition as it requires travelling to Torres del Paine to wait for a good day to run the trail.

ARCHIVES - all the stories!

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