Article: 2021 FKTOY Top Ten

By Buzz Burrell on Thu, 01/06/2022 - 10:13am
FKTOY 2021

The Voters have voted!  51 people from around the world took the time and effort to study the Nominations List, and we have our Results.

Below is the TOP TEN, in alphabetical order, NOT actual order.  We’ll release Podcast interviews with the #4 and #5 winners on January 14; the #3 and #2’s will be released on January 21, and the two #1’s (Female and Male) on January 28.  Articles here on the website will be published the same day.  Click on the Route links to read the amazing personal stories written by the runners.

Who do YOU think the winners will be?  Guessing will get easier as we do the countdown, but you can start guessing now - please post your Comments below.   (We could do a “Guess The Winners” contest, but that’s too much work :-).  And we all know that everyone is a winner: 3,695 people set FKTs in 2021, which in itself is like winning a race. 49 of those were Nominated for FKTOY.  And now we're down to the final 20.


Addie Bracy, Corey Conner - - - Grand Canyon R2R2R (AZ)

Alex Borsuk - - - Glacier Peak (WA)

Anna Troup - - - Pennine Way (UK)

Brooke Thomas - - - Te Araroa (New Zealand)

Erika Lori - - - Bibbulmun Track (WA, Australia)

Lindsay Webster - - - Presidential Traverse (NH)

Lucy Bartholomew - - - Larapinta Trail (NT, Australia)

Mikaela Osler - - - Long Trail (VT)

Nika Meyers - - - Colorado Trail (CO)

Ragna Debats - - - Ruta 0-4-0, Pico de Teide (Canary Islands, Spain)


Ben Feinson - - - Long Trail (VT)

Jack Kuenzle - - - Presidential Traverse (NH)

Jason Hardrath - - - Washington Bulgers (WA)

Joe McConaughy - - - Arizona Trail (AZ)

John Kelly - - - Pennine Way (UK)

Karel Sabbe - - - Via Alpina, Red Trail (Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Monaco)

Pawel Szafruga - - - Colorado Fourteeners (CO)

Petter Restorp - - - Chamonix-Zermatt (France, Switzerland)

Sean O'Rourke - - - Wyoming Thirteeners (WY)

Timothy Olson - - - Pacific Crest Trail (CA, OR, WA)

Democracy in Action:

The FKT Team did NOT decide the above list - this is a pure “one person one vote” process.  Indeed, myself (Buzz) and Peter Bakwin voted for different slates than how it turned out - and literally not one voter voted for the eventual winning slate.  Which is perfect - the list above represents the community as a whole, not any one viewpoint.

All 49 people on the Nominations List received votes!  Everyone was appreciated. Some of the results were very close.  

Personal Observations:

  • Half of the Top Ten Female FKTs took place outside North America, with Down Under extremely well represented with three.
  • The Pennine Way in the UK made the Top Ten for both Female and Male, as did the Presi in New Hampshire - voters like to see hot competition!
  • Big, classic Routes are again in the Top Ten - voters like creative new projects, and fast times on mountains, while this year gave the best rating to the classics.
  • The above observations may change next year, because our voters list continues to evolve as we recruit voters who are younger and faster.

The Long Trail and Colorado Trail had a stunning back-forth: 

  • In 2019 Nika Meyers was awarded #3 for her Long Trail FKT
  • In 2020 Mikaela Osler was #4 (tie) for her Colorado Trail FKT
  • On June 17 2021 Mikaela went 7mins faster than Nika’s time on the Long Trail
  • On July 30 2021 Nika went 22hrs 17mins faster than Mikaela’s time on the CT
  • (We have no idea if this interchange was intentional or coincidental; it’s just fun to see people doing their best)

Voter Comments:

  • Good to see lots of strong international running getting well deserved FKT attention!
  • What a great mix here - legendary FKT routes are getting faster and faster, while some creative trail runners are exploring dramatic and bold new concepts.
  • Nice to include international routes - this gives me many good ideas for future adventures!
  • The FKT movement has legitimized high-performance efforts on difficult (and imaginative) routes that blend trail running and mountaineering.  
  • With so many incredible FKTs it made this exercise of rating near impossible!
  • A very tough year for voters to put together a cohesive rationale for selecting one effort over another due to the sheer number of incredible efforts achieved!  2021 WILL BE THE MOST INTRIGUING FKTOY REVEAL YET!