FKT Guidelines

David Anderson in the Winds

What qualifies as an FKT?

  • The route is notable and distinct enough so that others may be interested in repeating it.
  • Routes may be of any distance or time duration.
  • No official races.
  • Routes may on any surface - road, trail, off-trail.
  • The focus is on running on hiking in order to be thorough, accurate, and reliable. Climbing, cycling, paddling, skiing, and other sports are great, and we may establish separate categories for them in the future, but not at this time. One may use any means of self-propelled travel during the FKT attempt, provided that:
    • At least 33% of Elapsed Time must be running and/or hiking.
    • Ropes may not be employed for more than 10% of the Elapsed Time, and climbing grades 5.8/5a and harder even without a rope are considered climbing, not running or hiking.
    • Motorized travel for the sole purpose of linking important features may be allowed, for example during the Colorado or California 14ers.
  • If you completed a route but came up short of a new FKT, definitely post a comment on the route page letting everyone know what you did. However, do not submit a new FKT because unlike Strava's leaderboards, for example, there are no second or third fastest listings; only the fastest, posted chronologically as they were completed.

Overall Guidelines

Calculating time

The clock starts at the beginning of the route, and does not stop until the end. FKTs always count “elapsed time,” never “moving time”.

Route Inclusion

Virtually anything can be an FKT, but for the purposes of this website, the route should have qualities that may be of interest to others, and is distinct enough to be repeated.

Who

Anyone can do an FKT. We keep separate categories for female and male, and for teams. There are no age groups.

Timing and Verifying

Please see the FKT Verification page.

Supported or Unsupported?

There are three types of support. Each route may have separate categories for these three styles, and FKT submissions should state which style was employed. While these three styles are significantly different from each other, none is considered “better” than the others; it’s an individual choice.

Supported

Supported means you have a crew that meets you along the way. This can range from one person handing you water once, to an entire team that accompanies you the whole distance giving you everything (except physical assistance -- FKTs are self-powered). Whether it’s just once or continuously, any support at all means it’s a Supported trip. Supported can enable the fastest trips due to the ability to carry less weight.

Self-Supported

Self-Supported means you may have as much support as you can manage or find along the way, but not from any pre-arranged people helping you. This can range from caching supplies in advance, purchasing supplies along the way, to finding or begging for food or water. Most long thru-hiking routes are done Self-Supported.

Unsupported

Unsupported means you have no external support of any kind. This means you carry everything you need from start to finish except water. This naturally limits the length of an Unsupported trip. If a person is accompanied or paced for any distance, it automatically becomes a Supported trip. Teams, however, can be Unsupported as long as they all travel and finish together. If a female is traveling with a male, it is either a Mixed Gender Team or Female Supported; she cannot claim a Female Unsupported FKT.

Route Variations

Direction

For bigger routes, we often have separate variations for the direction traveled (N-S or S-N on the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, for example). Normally, though, the fastest time is the fastest time regardless of direction.

Ascent and Round Trip

For significant summits, we have a separate variation for ascent only.

Laps

We sometimes have separate variations for multiple laps on one route, such as multiple Grand Canyon Crossings.

Season

A few routes may have a separate variation tracking FKTs in winter, (between the winter solstice and spring equinox). If a winter trip does not present significantly different challenges than a non-winter trip, there will be no separate variation.