FKT: Peter Hogg, Nathan Broom - Knobstone Trail (IN) - 2023-12-21

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
10h 56m 10s
GPS track(s)

What a great day on the Knobstone! The weather was about ideal, starting out around freezing and warming up to the 50s. We were expecting clouds, but we got a few hours of bright sunshine in the morning. We started at 6:59am at the Deam Lake trailhead. It looked pitch dark, but when we came out on the dam, we could see early light in the sky already. It wasn't too long before we turned off the headlamps and stowed them with hopes of leaving them stowed for the rest of this shortest day of the year.

Peter loaned me (Nathan) a Salomon filter flask, which I really liked compared to my Sawyer Mini. No worries about freezing the Salomon, and the flow rate is excellent. We filtered at about 11.5mi (Hwy 160), 24.5mi (standing water in a dry creekbed), 31mi (Elk Creek Lake), and 39.5mi (creek north of Pull Tight Rd). Mileage is from my watch, which eventually read a mile less than the mile markers on the trail. With the cool weather and ample opportunities to filter, we never carried more than a liter of water. This is the first time I've filtered on an FKT attempt, and I have room to improve my technique. We spent close to 25 minutes total at those four water stops.

There's a little backstory to this particular FKT attempt. I had never met Peter, but as the regional editor for Indiana, I had approved (and admired) several of his FKTs and we had corresponded about a few routes. I think the Knobstone is the premier route in Indiana--and a standout in the lower Midwest. I tried this trail supported a few years back, but I couldn't match Peter's time. I was planning to make an unsupported attempt sometime next spring... and then I saw Peter's recent attempt where he took a wrong turn right near the finish and didn't get the FKT. I reached out to him about that run, and on a lark I suggested running it together. It was definitely self-serving, because I didn't want him to put the unsupported time out of my reach as well. He was game to run together, and we met in person for the first time at the entry gate to Delaney in the early morning when we dropped the finish car there. I like running solo, but Peter was a great companion on this run and I can't imagine I would have enjoyed it nearly as much alone.

Anyway, the day progressed well on the trail, though of course it got tougher as the hours, miles, and vert accumulated. We were both probably operating a bit beyond our current fitness level, but we ended up well matched for the day. He was stronger than me on the climbs (do I need to break down and get poles?) but our paces seemed pretty compatible overall. It felt like the last ten miles required half of the day's total effort. I was committed to keeping my headlamp in my vest, but there was one final climb we'd forgotten about, and that one knocked the stuffing out of me, and we needed light to get to the finish.

The trail is in good shape overall. I think a tree must fall across this trail at least every day on average, and it's obvious that the crew and volunteers work hard keeping it clear. There were a number of trees to climb over or navigate around, but they were the exception. Fallen leaves covered a lot of the trail. We were expecting two short reroutes in the first ten miles, but they had been reopened.

Thanks to Mark for getting the unsupported attempts going on the Knobstone, and to Peter for saying yes to a near-stranger who proposed running together. Who's going to tackle this beautiful beast of a trail next?


Great report Nathan! Thanks for getting me back out there. It was a great day and a satisfying end to an interesting journey. A little more backstory: I planned to attempt this unsupported with another friend, Seth, in November. Unfortunately, he hurt his ankle and backed out. I then also sprained my ankle about a week out and then got the flu the day before my planned attempt. I postponed until December 2nd and arranged for my parents to drive me. Then my parents got COVID the week of my attempt. I ended up making the attempt on 12/2 with only my dad feeling recovered enough to drive me.  Then I made the wrong turn at mile 46 that I didn’t discover until I had finished. Nathan then reached out and we finally got it done together 12/21. 

Heck yeah gents!   What a story and what a run!   Now I have to get back out there.  : )