Article: Super Classic FKTs

By Buzz Burrell on Sun, 04/01/2018 - 12:13am
Moses crossing the Red Sea

With this new website now active, some incredible new FKTs are being submitted.  Here are just three of the new routes, all submitted today, April 1.


Submitted by:  Holy Scripture

Gender: Male and Female (Israelites)

Route location: Egypt

Route description:  Pi-hahiroth to Baal Zephon; 237km

Finish date:  1231 BC

Time (Duration): 1 day

Style: Self Supported

Verification links: Bible, Exodus 13:17-14:29; Quran, Surah 26: Al-Shu'ara' verses 60-67.
More properly an “OKT” (Only Known Time), this FKT has never been repeated, due to the parting of the Red Sea being quite difficult.  The technology at the time was apparently more advanced than runners possess today.  Also, pursuit of FKTs was very competitive even back then, because when “...the Egyptians pursue, God clogged their chariot-wheels which throws them into a panic, and with the return of the water the pharaoh and his entire army are destroyed”.

Red Sea FKT



Lewis and ClarkSubmitted by:  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Athlete(s):  33 (and 1 dog)

Gender:  Male

Route location:  St Louis to mouth of Columbia River.  And back.

Route description:  3,700 miles O/W; 7,000 miles R/T.  

Finish date:  September 23, 1806

Time (Duration):  2 years, 4 months, 10 days, R/T.  

Style:  Self-Supported. (This has been hotly debated for years, as Sacagawea could be considered as lending support.  However, the current consensus of the thru-hiking community is she should rather be considered the first trail angel).

Verification links:  "Travels to the source of the Missouri river and across the American continent to the Pacific ocean. Performed by order of the government of the United States, in the years 1804, 1805, and 1806." By Captains Lewis and Clarke. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown.

While a Supported FKT could readily go faster, this is a very difficult Self-Supported FKT to break, as most modern ultra-runners or thru-hikers would have difficulty constructing log boats, pushing them upstream in the Missouri River using poles, building forts for the winter, and only consuming food that they were able to shoot with flintlock rifles. On the other hand, modern athletes would surely realize the cute “Prairie Dog” named by Lewis is actually a troublesome rat.  

Corps of Discovery



HandcartSubmitted by:  Brigham Young

Athlete(s):  3,000

Gender:  Male, Female, children

Route location:  Iowa City to Salt Lake City

Route description:  1,105 miles. Pushing a wooden handcart across the prairie and mountains.

Finish date: 1860

Time (Duration):  91 days, by the 7th Company, beating the previous FKT set by the 3rd Company of 100 days. 

Style:  Self-Supported. The families pushed wooden handcarts loaded with all their possessions for 1,105 miles.  Each cart weighed approximately 300 lbs. The migration was divided into 10 Company’s, embarking between 1856 and 1860.  The Fourth and Fifth Company’s left too late and were caught by winter; approximately 250 people froze or starved to death (compared with 42 from the more famous Donner Party).  

Verification links: The Handcart migration is part of LDS lore. Tracing one’s lineage to a handcart pioneer is like tracing one’s ancestors back to who came on the Mayflower.  Re-enactments are held every year and have become so popular that the BLM has started charging a fee and is studying the impact on the trail and its environment. Further verification comes from noting the unusually high percentage of really tough ultra-runners from Salt Lake City.

This is another easy Supported FKT to break, as the route largely parallels modern day US 6, but Self-Supported would be difficult, as few would want to push a cart with all their food needed from Iowa to Utah.  FKT attempts are made on the AT and PCT every year, but not the Mormon Trail.  Wallace Stegner cautioned would-be ultra-runners when he wrote, “... if courage and endurance make a story, if humankindness and helpfulness and brotherly love in the midst of raw horror are worth recording, this half-forgotten episode of the Mormon migration is one of the great tales of the West and of America."

Handcart Rescue