Route: Paumanok Path (NY)

Location
New York, US
Description

From Wikipedia:

The Paumanok Path is a 125-mile (201 km) hiking trail in New York on Long Island that goes from Rocky Point to Montauk Point State Park. It travels through four towns in Suffolk County: Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton and East Hampton. It is marked by white trail blazes. The trail derives its name from the Native American name for Long Island. The trail was inspired by Stephen Talkhouse, a 19th-century Montaukett Indian famed for his 25-30 mile roundtrip walks from Montauk to East Hampton, New York and Sag Harbor, New York. Landmarks on the trail are said to be resting places for him. Talkhouse is buried off the trail in Theodore Roosevelt County Park near Montauk. The trail is almost completely off-road, but there are a few short sections which are paved.

From Tom Dee:

The current supported and overall FKT was established by Byron Lane back in 2000 when he ran it in 35 hours and 10 minutes.

On December 2, 2017, I ran Paumanok Path in 35:44:30. I ran according to the published rules for a self-supported run. I cached food and water along the route, but did not have any support crew. My friend Brandon and I intended to run the whole thing together, but he had to bow at mile 100.

Since the trail is so different from its 2000 incarnation, is any new run an overall FKT? This seems to be what Joe Denny believed when he thru-hiked the trail last summer, crowning himself as the first one to do so despite the fact that many did so before him, including Brandon and myself only a few years earlier, not to mention that Byron Lane did it publicly many years prior. I am not claiming to be the first person to continuously run the trail. No matter how many reroutes take place, that honor will always belong to Byron Lane. But -- to the best of my knowledge -- I am the second, and the first to do it in nearly two decades.

Despite the reroutes, I think that anyone wanting to claim the overall FKT for Paumanok needs to break 35:10. I believe that my 35:45 finish qualifies as the self-supported FKT, 35 minutes behind Lane’s time.

  • I recorded the trip with my Garmin watch. The Garmin Connect track can be found here and puts the route at 125 miles. I don’t know how to get it to show the correct elapsed time instead of the non-paused time. 
  • The Strava activity clearly shows the elapsed time to be 35:44:30. 
  • Additionally, here’s the link to the SPOT beacon track, which we posted on social media for friends and family to follow along in real time. Unfortunately, the device failed to track the first 12 miles. The rest is there. 
  • I wrote a short report on the run and how it came about here. 
  • Several people witnessed us out there, plus Brandon ran the first almost 100 miles either with me or near me.
Based on the rules posted on this forum, it sounds like team efforts can qualify as self-supported. If there should be an “accompanied” asterisk on my run, I’m fine with that. The distinctions between the categories seem awfully fuzzy to me and I don’t really care. We knew we didn’t want a support crew, and also knew we didn’t want to carry all our food and gear from the start. So this is how we did it. But we took the endeavor seriously and were committed to running the trail as accurately as possible. We succeeded in that.

 

I hope it’s not another 17 years before the next runners take on this challenge! My advice to anyone interested in doing it would be to get to know the trail well beforehand. Spend some time out there volunteering or just clearing trail as you go. Navigating and dealing will lesser-used trails are the two of the more difficult aspects of this route.

Comments

Had to bail around mile 13 due to the crazy high volume of ticks. Would walk 5 minutes through some high-ish grass and have 20 ticks on my shoes. Just wasn't worth the risk. Failed to recognize how gnarly the tick situation in Eastern Long Island is.

Planning on coming back late fall or early spring to take another swing!

Hi Stephen, the fall is a good time to go but you should still expect there to be ticks. The best method I've found is to tuck you pants into your socks and the cover them in two layers of nylon stockings while spraying with a bug repellent that contains permethrin on each layer of clothing. The nylon is a fine mesh that helps keep the nymphs off of you. Spray all your clothes, in particular the ankles shins and waist. Pretty much the whole path is relentless when it comes to ticks but by using this method I'm able to keep them off me very well. Hope this helps.

Tom Dee, I gave Byron Lane credit in that article for running the trail first. What I said was that when the trail was officially completed in 2016 I just happened to be the first hiker to do a thru-hike on it that same year. I've never been happy with the way that article came out but I'm very happy to have spent the time to hike such a pretty trail. Prior to 2016 there were no markings on a very large section around Shinnecock and so no official route had been established. I was hoping to bring attention to the trail and to inspire people to stay close to nature, it was not my intention to step on anybody's toes or in this case running shoes. All the best and keep on truckin'