Article: 2020 FKT of the Year Award!

By Buzz Burrell on Sat, 12/12/2020 - 05:14pm


The FKTOY Award is back for the 5th year –– presented by The North Face!

Voters will choose 5 winners for Female and for Male. This is for North America only; we hope to conduct the same Awards for Europe as well (and next year for Australasia).

Below is a preview of the Nominations List which is now Final. Disclaimer: it is not perfect! Like every "Best of ..." list, you might have other opinions, and we might have made mistakes. So please offer your Comments below.  (However, the actual voting is done by 38 experienced people - the process would be too complicated to manage publicly.)

It's an amazing list with great stories! You should click the links to read each person's Trip Report and get more details.

The winners will start being announced on January 1, 2021. The North Face Flight VECTIV will be released on January 26, 2021.

Stay tuned!

2020 FKT of the Year Nominations List


Kaci Lickteig Wabash Trace Nature Trail (IA) 20h 6m 2s; 126mi; 3,044' 9:34 min/mile for 126 miles
Brittany Peterson Superior Hiking Trail (MN) 4d 9h 27m 18s; 310mi; 43,544' Done with Cody Lind (see below) as a Mixed Gender Team
Candice Burt Tahoe Rim Trail (CA) 2d 12h 47m 34s; 171mi; 31,000' 15hr faster than previous Unsupported; 16hr slower than Supported time
Sarah Hansel Nolan's 14 (CO) 2d 9h 43m 34s; 100mi; 42,000' Unsupported FKT was the fastest Female Overall time until it changed hands 4 times later in summer
Sarah Burke Mt Shasta (CA) 2h 55m 46s, 4mi; 6,295' 1hr 35min faster than previous; 47min slower than Supported
Brittany Charboneau Maroon Bells 4 Passes Loop (CO) 5h 18m 2s; 27mi; 7,800' 1hr 11min faster than previous; 10min faster than Supported time
Kelly Halpin Wind River High Route (WY) 2d 11h 37m; 97mi; 30,000' 1day faster than Female Supported; until last year fastest Overall
Mikaela Osler Colorado Trail (CO) 10d 12h 36m, 485mi; 90,000' 4days 2hr faster than Self-Supported FKT; 26hr slower than Supported
Alyssa Godesky Adirondack 46 High Peaks (NY) 3d 16h 16m 2nd fastest Overall; until last year would have been fastest Overall
Britta Clark Pemigewasset Loop (NH) 6h 31m 49s; 28.7mi; 9,100' 28 mins faster than previous (22 FKTs on this Route!)
Kaytlyn Gerbin Wonderland Trail (WA) 18h 41m 54s, 93mi; 24,000' 3hr 37min faster than Jenn Shelton's 2015 time; 4th Oveall
Jess Marion Presidential Traverse (NH) 4h 35m 47s; 18mi; 8,500' Classic route; classic New England competition
Madeline Gould Superior Hiking Trail (MN) 7d 3h 22m; 310mi; 43,544' 3days 5hr faster than previous FKT besting the Male Unsupported time
Sabrina Stanley Nolan's 14 (CO) 2d 0h 49m; 100mi; 42,000' A route with a success rate of just 15% sees 5 Female FKTs in 87 days
Corrine Malcolm Tahoe Rim Trail (CA) 1d 20h 51m 25s; 171mi; 31,000' 3hr 22min faster than Krissy Moehl from 2015; 16hr faster than Unsupported; 4th Overall
Anne Lang Sheltowee Trace (KY) 8day, 9hr, 47min; 341mi; 41,015' First Female completion of this National Recreation Trail
Bailey Kowalczyk Boulder Skyline Traverse (CO) 3h 10m 20s; 17.3mi; 5,600' 15 new FKTs since route established in May



Greg Cummings Manitou Incline (CO) 365d; 3,670,000' 1,825 laps totalling 3,670,000 vertical feet in 1 year; steepest grade 68%
Alex King Mt Hood (OR) 2h 9m 7s; 6.79mi; 5,361' 16min faster than previous
Joe McConaughy Long Trail (VT) 4d 23h 54m; 273mi; 65,370' 1day faster than Unsupported; 11hr slower than Supported
Cody Lind Superior Hiking Trail (MN) 4d 9h 27m 18s; 310mi; 43,544' With Brittany Patterson as a Mixed Gender Team
Coree Woltering Ice Age Trail (WI) 21d 13h 35m; 1,112mi; 25,000' Bettered Annie Weiss's time by 4hr 32min
Joey Campanelli Nolan's 14 (CO) 1d 17h 33s; 100mi; 42,000' Unsupported effort bests the fastest Supported time by over 5hr
Adam Kimble Tahoe Rim Trail (NV) 1d 13h 12m 15s; 170mi, 26,913' 1hr 20min faster than Kilian from 11 yrs ago on a slightly longer route
Will Peterson New Hampshire 4000 Footers (NH) 5d 13h 5m; 240mi; 74,000' 18hr faster than previous FKT; 9hr faster than Supported
Jordan Fields Pemigewasset Loop (NH) 5h 27m 20s; 28.7mi; 9,111' 9min faster than Jack Kuenzle Unsupported effort
David Ayala Sierra High Route (CA) 4d 3h 36m; 195mi; 43,000' 13hr quicker than Leor Pantilat from 2016
Aaron Robson Gannett Peak (WY) 8h 39m 26s; 38mi9; 8,100' Scraped 7min off Anton Krupicka's time from 2012
Eric Gilbertson Rocky Mountains Slam (CO, WY, MT) 60d 9h 20m; 1,030mi; 432,500' No previous metric. Also took FKTs for CO Centinnials and WY 13ers en route.
Tyler Green Wonderland Trail (WA) 16h 40m 55s; 93mi; 23,000' Dylan Bowman broke the FKT by 1.5hrs, then 5 days later Tyler takes 18min off that
Kyle Richardson Longs Peak (CO) 1h 55m 40s; 9mi; 4,457' 1min faster than Andy; 9min faster that Chris from 1978
Jason Dorais Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup (UT) 14h 40m 33s; 33.79mi; 20,654' 48min faster on what has become a competitive route
Gabe Joyes Wind River High Route (WY) 1d 23h 7m; 97mi; 30,000' 4hr 28min faster than David Ayala from last year
Jeff Garmire Colorado Trail (CO) 9d 8h 18m; 485mi; 90,000' Overall Unsupported FKT by 4 hours; 1day 19hr slower than Supported
Michael Mcknight Colorado Trail (CO) 7d 13h 16m 15s; 485mi; 90,000' Overall FKT by 11 hr; 18 hr for this Variation
Joseph Gray Boulder Skyline Traverse (CO) 2h 32m 40s; 17.3mi; 5,600' 22min faster than 6th best; 6min better than 2nd fastest set 2 days earlier
Avery Collins Backbone Trail (CA) 10h 19m 31s; 66.77mi; 12,280' 51min faster than the FKT set 4 weeks prior

Past Years' FKTOYs

Last year's Nomination List


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Sarah Hansel’s description should read that her unsupported time bested the supported time from 4 years previous and she set overall FKT at that time.  There was also 4 women who set overall FKTS this year on the Nolan’s line but in different styles and the title swapped hands 5 times. Sarah Hansel - Andrea Sansone- Sabrina Stanley-Megan Hicks-Sabrina Stanley. ALSO after Andrea set new over FKT north bound in 53 hours , she continued on and was the first woman ever to complete Holy Nolan’s and establish a new FKT for that route. I’d love to see Andrea Sansones run added to the list as well ! Thanks for everything you guys do at the site , I know it’s been a busy year ! 

I think Andrea Sansone's Holy Nolan's fkt was definitely worthy of recognition as well. Not only did she demolish my (regular) Nolan's time by a ridiculous amount, but she got to the Fish Hatchery and then kept going, which is just insane. 

I'll also second the fact that y'all have done an amazing job keeping up with all this during such a crazy year. I think having FKTs to follow kept everyone semi sane this summer, so thanks for all your awesome coverage!!

I love to see the action on the Pemi Loop in NH on both sides! 

Excellent Comments - thank you!  Every correction sent in (some have come through the "Contact" form and do not appear here) is being reviewed, and your suggested corrections are being made.  We are a crowd-sourced data-base, so YOUR information is what creates credibility and accuracy - we just organize what you send.

We've received suggestions for other FKTs to be on the Nomination List - good!  Some might make it on and some won't - not because each one is not excellent, but because we can't logistically manage too big of a list.  And like any "Best of ..." list, this one is not perfect - sorry about that - really wish it was.

So please keep your Comments coming in!


I would love to see Emily Halnon's Oregon PCT Overall FKT on the list! Not only did she put up an incredible effort and performance, she raised more than $26,000 for the Brave Like Gabe Foundation.

To the un/self-supported should go the spoils in a pandemic year:

1. Campanelli and Hansel took Nolan's san crew support and moved the needle

2. Ayala and Osler - put down big, committing routes un-self supported and crushed

3. Dorais and Stanley - raised the bar on increasingly fast routes

4. Green and Gerbin - took a fast classic and upped the ante, but with the usual crew accoutrement 

The Ballot is going out at 3pm MST today to the 37 Voters, so the Nominations List is now Final.  We added three more FKTs to the List, entirely from your suggestions, and made all suggested text clarifications, so thank you everyone for the input.  Any great FKTs posted after 12/12/20 can roll over to the 2021 FKTOY List.

The Comments are really good - keep them coming!  Maybe some Voters will read your ideas of who should win and be influenced!


Wardian averaged more than 1 a month, dude couldn't get a slot.  Dam thats rough.

Hey Jason (strong name), 

Well...I mean some teacher dude did like one per week this year ( <-self-depricatory humor)... so clearly FKTOY isn't about the number of FKTs you do in a year, it's about the qualities of a particular FKT effort. With over 2900 FKTs it is truly difficult to ask the questions...

Which routes were iconic, classic, or brutal?
Which efforts were dominant performances or radically moved the bar forward for this route or the sport?
Which route, story, effort inspires us most?

 Mike Wardian is a truly amazing human, his are efforts are phenomenal, and he tells good stories. That is one of the things that does make this process difficult. But it is still a cool process and ceremony for us to share together to respect the heart and soul some people put into this niche of our sport.  ...and to honor the efforts and stories of our community by reminding each other of the efforts that most moved us, even if they didn't make the list.

not that I know much.

some guy with stoke,

Yes, this is a good observation.  The "Ultra Runner Of the Year" award, by Ultrarunner Magazine has been going for about 40 years, honors the person.  (The USATF also has a different, separate award).  I started the FKTOY award to intentionally honor the FKT, not a person.  Because I think for us outdoor types, it's more about being outside and appreciating our environment than about a number.  

So yes, it's odd that Mike and that "teacher dude" are not listed even though they clearly are some of the best and most inspirational people in our community.  (Wardian was a 2020 "Outsider of the Year" in Outside Mag btw).  Maybe next year we'll add a category so we can highlight people like Mike and Jason. They deserve it!

When considering Kaytlyn Gerbin's 18:41 on The Wonderland Trail, don't only look at the massive 3.5-hour improvement over Jenn Shelton's previous women's FKT, but also consider that this time broke Gary Robbins's former overall FKT (18:52) that was seen as an absolute game-changer in 2015 for obliterating Kyle Skaggs's longstanding, seemingly-so-untouchable-as-to-discourage-FKT-attempts FKT of 20:53 (Gary's run possibly worthy of men's FKTOY consideration if the award had existed for 2015). Perhaps the two amazing men's times from Dylan Bowman and Tyler Green this summer have taken some of the "wow" factor away from Kaytlyn's performance in the eyes of some voters not familiar with this trail, but this was seismic!

David Ayala's Sierra High Route FKT is really mind-blowing to me. The SHR has a level of commitment and consequence that is unmatched by the other FKTs on this list, save the WRHR and Eric Gilbertson's Grand Slam. 

To take 13 hours off Leor's stout FKT is impressive, and I'm really surprised that I never heard about the route this summer. In a way, I suppose that's good - part of the SHR experience is that no one is out there. 

The gear, route-finding, lack of rest, no support - plus the actual 195 miles of intense work...I'm not a voter, but this stands out significantly to me above the other Men's FKTs this year. 

Jess M's Presidential Traverse is super impressive--she set it once early in summer, I took a few minutes off and then she came BACK a few days later and shaved 3 minutes off my time! Fun/fierce white mountain competition on a classic route!

You're right - us westerners have been eating granola and exploring, while the New Englanders have always been throwing down!  But the west is getting faster ...

Since the list is now final, what happens to FKT's done between now and the 31st? 

Outstanding efforts now roll over into 2021.  There didn't use to be much activity in December so it was nice to announce on January 1, but FKT action is now 24/7/365, so we may shift to a calendar year in 2021 and announce in mid-January.

Hey Everyone, thank you so much and appreciate the support.  I think this is a great list and I will have do some even more epic things next year..wink.  I was stoked with all the FKTs I did and excited that some people have started to get excited about getting after them.  Let's keep doing incredible stuff and pushing each other to get better.



A category that considers things like personality and style deserves consideration, so +1 to that. As mentioned people like Jason and Mike deserve recognition. Another spin on an idea like that would be to have categories for support and unsupported (nix self-supported for simplicity). Perhaps that'd give mountain lunatics like Kelly and Eric (my favorites) more recognition among more popular objectives (or maybe not). Or maybe the category ideas could be more along the lines of (a) established and competitive versus new and original or (b) running focused (sub 10 min/mi avg?) vs 'mountain' focused (routes w/ big vert, peaks, off trail, scrambling, climbing, snow). Heck, add in a multisport FKTOY. Hopefully the voters are stoked enough to vote on my suggested 5837375 categories!

The nature of my comment is to direct thought toward categories. The spirit of FKTs is there can be only one, but I think these FKTs are too bad ass for only one to get all the cred. Organizing them into categories is perhaps a way for more folk to get the recognition they deserve.

I do think the idea of Euro and Australaisa FKTOY awards is rad too. Hopefully the international expansion can educate my English-only western self.

Lastly, allocating one or perhaps upward of three FKT podcast episodes to give coverage to all the FKTs here that didn't have an episode dedicated to the athlete is of interest to me. I don't know or appreciate some of these accomplishments. I'd love to spend time reading all about them, but that's less practical for me than listening to a podcast while making dinner, driving, or running.