Article: New Owners of Fastest Known Time

By Buzz Burrell on Thu, 03/10/2022 - 06:01pm
Fastest Known Time

We have sold Fastest Known Time to Outside Interactive Inc, the publisher of numerous iconic magazines such as Trail RunnerClimbing, and of course Outside Magazine itself.  Buzz, Peter and Jeff are very happy with what we created, and are very grateful to all of you that have cared and supported our work, so that FKTs are now an integral part of the sport of running, utilized by a worldwide community.  

Most importantly, the community itself will be very happy to know that Outside is bringing a massive amount of knowledge, passion, and resources which will greatly improve the services and features of this website, something which we we wanted to see happen and were unable to do.  This is good news for everyone!

We launched this website on March 27, 2018, almost 4 years ago.  Whew!  A lot has happened - - -

  • As of January 1 2022, you have submitted and we have uploaded 3,358 FKT Routes and 8,120 FKTs, from all States, all Provinces, and about 63 countries. Congratulations!  This is a crowd-sourced process and you made it happen.
  • Peter Bakwin, along with our 17 volunteer Regional Editors, has manually reviewed every single submission - that's a lot of work - thank you!
  • fastestknowntime.com thus is a uniquely curated database of the selected best routes in the world, who did them, and how fast.
  • “FKT” is now a common term in our language, with press coverage from the Wall Street Journal, New York Time, National Public Radio, and many others.

Peter will continue to run and scramble mountains brilliantly, and will spend time as a newly certified spiritual teacher.  Jeff continues with his active web development business, and is still the fastest runner on the team.  Allison Mercer will remain to answer all your questions, and Craig Randall will continue to send out the Newsletter on Monday.  Our esteemed Regional Editors will be processing your Route and FKT submissions.  And you will meet the new Outside team next week, and hear their ideas for improving the website.

Please listen to the podcast here, as Buzz, Peter, and Jeff share our thoughts on this milestone, with really good comments from Allison Mercer, Hillary Allen, Jared Campbell, and Anton Krupicka.

Thank you, thank you all - you are the community - you helped make this happen.

Buzz, Peter, Jeff

Peter Bakwin
Peter waves goodbye ...

 

Buzz Burrell
Buzz rides off into the sunset ... or something ...

 

Jeff Schuler
Jeff says see you at the summit!

Comments

Wow, that is big news!  Added resources sounds great.  Hope we don't lose the special vibe that Peter, Buzz, and everyone has created.  I need to put this podcast at the top of my "to listen" list for my next run!

Good to hear from you Marcy and Jason!  Remember you are your own vibe, and you can't lose it.  As for me, there's an owie in my left knee and I wear reading glasses all the time, so I'm losing something!

User Picture
Profile picture for user Jason Hardrath @jasonhardrath

Marcy, 

Agreed, Big News.  I agree also on the not losing the vibe and openness of the community as it is. I love this space and have a significant portion of the last 4 years of my life contributing over 60 different mixed-skill routes and completing over 100 FKTs, even writing articles to draw attention to the interesting films that have been made about the space. I hope we can build in more features that give us as a community more voice in rating/reviewing routes and efforts. "To-do lists" and "tick lists" to track interest and completion of routes could be cool.

A primary concern of mine...
I started chasing FKTs with maxed out credit cards and living out of a $600 smoking astro van, so I have deep concerns around any kind of a "pricing out" of true "eat ramen and crush mountains" dirtbag athletes.  I think of early Alex Honnold, Brad Gobright, Sean O'Rourke, and so many more who wouldn't have necessarily ever payed to have their name featured but showed up and smashed speed records.  We have to hold in mind that significant contributors to our culture of "what is possible in the backcountry" choose FKTs because there isn't a $200 - $1000 dollar race entry...and that some aren't even willing to pay $14.99 a month for netflix because of how many packets of ramen it buys them (I think of Nathan Longhurst and Travis Soares who are out there crushing right now).  I think there is a risk to the legitimacy of the phrase Fastest Known Time, if these people are breaking the records but then just posting elsewhere. 

It doesn't seem this is a direction things are intending to go, long or short-term, but in my mind it is of paramount concern.

On a positive note, I am stoked to see that mountain bike, road bike, and ski records are already starting to live on the website here...I am excited for the new creativity these new sports will add for deeply complex and engaging outdoors experiences. This will be good. If you are going to use the name "Fastest Known Time" you should house any speed related record the communities you serve agree is relevant.  Will we see "The Nose" and other prominent records displayed here? If so, pictograms depicting the style, technical risk levels of routes, etc would be pretty cool to see. 

here is to use weathering the growing pains of this movement together! Lets keep guiding this thing everyone :)

With stoke and gratitude,
Jason Hardrath

User Picture
Profile picture for user seano

My reaction upon reading this was surprise, but after listening to the podcast that has faded to a more typical world-weariness.  People need to step away from projects they've started, whether they grow too large to manage, feel complete, or are no longer top priorities -- I certainly have.  And being able to cash out at the same time is a nice bonus.

To the extent that this has been a "community," I have been on the periphery, but have been there since at least 2012.  Fellow oddballs with their own reasons to compete outside of organized races benefited by having a central repository of interesting routes done fast, rather than bits of lore scattered on various fora and personal sites.  Back in the Proboards days, I was contributing to that repository of interesting routes done fast.  Later, in the bespoke website and podcast era, I was contributing to Buzz and Peter's project, which I also supported.  Going forward, contributing to this site means working for Outside Inc., being "paid" in the dubious coin of "influence." It remains to be seen how they will turn this into pennies, clicks, and bits of consumer data, but capture and value extraction are the downside of centralization.

Back when I first became interested in ultra-endurance and speed records, I was inspired by Bob Burd's Sierra trip reports (https://www.snwburd.com/bob/) and the lore on Matt Mahoney's site (http://mattmahoney.net/ultra/).  These stories of focus, obsession, and drive untethered to money or fame appealed to me.  A brief foray into organized ultra running around 2010 convinced me that this alluring spirit was being snuffed out by professionalism and commerce.  Plus, I was already well into my 30s and lacked the speed to be a contender in what the sport was becoming.  I preferred bagging peaks, anyways, and my interest in trail racing faded.  The competitive drive remained, though, and putting up times on mountains was a way to satisfy it, push myself, possibly inspire others as they had inspired me, and look both up and down the scale of human performance to know my place.

Now once again I see the writing on the wall.  I know I will keep doing similar things for similar reasons, finding inspiration and information here and elsewhere.  A some other old guy once said: "Neither a follower nor a leader be.  This above all: to thine own self be true."