FKT Guidelines

David Anderson in the Winds

What qualifies as an FKT?

  • The route is notable and distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it.
  • Routes may be of any distance or time duration (although anything less than 5mi long or less than 500 feet of climbing would have to be special).
  • Races:  We generally don’t track FKTs for race routes, since the race websites do that, and race results aren’t normally reported to us. But, an FKT set in a race is still an FKT.
  • Routes may on any surface - road, trail, off-trail.
  • We have a few Routes between very iconic landmarks, such as buildings or bridges, but we generally do not accept these because there are usually too many possibilities, and also we have found that most are not of general interest (few repeats).
  • The focus is on running and 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 50% of time must be running and/or hiking, vs. other sports.
    • 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 of interest to others, and is distinct enough to be repeated (see guidelines above).

Who

Anyone can do an FKT.  We keep separate categories for Female, Male, Non-Binary, and for Teams; there are no Age Groups.  “Non-Binary" is someone who chooses this category for themself (regardless of their biological gender). To qualify for an FKT as a Non-Binary individual or as a Mixed Gender Team, one must be faster than either the Female or the Male FKT (or be the first on a new Route).

You must give your actual name to be credited with an FKT.  No pseudonyms or trail names.  Also, you must give your real name if you want us to track your attempt on our "Tracking Now" page.

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 different from each other, none is “better” than the others; this is 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.  To get a Supported FKT you also have to beat the fastest Self-Supported and Unsupported times.

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.  To get a Self-Supported FKT you also have to beat the fastest Unsupported time.

Unsupported

Unsupported means you have no external support of any kind. This means you carry everything you need from start to finish except water from natural sources (or occasionally from public taps, but if you get water from a store that's self supported). 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. A mixed gender team can be Unsupported, but an individual traveling as part of such a team cannot claim an Unsupported FKT in their gender (they could claim a Supported - paced - FKT in their gender).

 

Route Variations

Direction

For a few routes, only when it makes sense, we 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.

 

Premier Routes (new for 2020)

These are ten high-visibility Routes that attract national attention and top athletes, including professionals. They were chosen because they are the only Routes on which two or more Fastest Time of the Year Awards have been accomplished (one Award plus three Nominations for the Presi).  So let’s all do an especially good job announcing, verifying, and listing these FKTs so the integrity of each effort will be protected and trusted. For every attempt on a Premier Route, please:

  1. Read the FKT Verification and FKT Guideline pages
  2. Announce your attempt in advance - to receive attention afterward, you should also bring attention to your project before and during as well.
  3. Track your attempt without fail - knowing how to use devices to verify an FKT is part of your essential skill set.

These are the current Premier Routes:

  • John Muir Trail, CA
  • Nolans 14, CO
  • R2R2R, AZ
  • Appalachian Trail, east coast
  • Wonderland Trail, WA
  • Long Trail, VT
  • Arizona Trail, AZ
  • Zion Crossing, UT
  • Colorado Trail, CO
  • Presidential Traverse, NH

Have fun!  And if you come up short, no worries - that is part of the sport - post your result in the Comments section of the Route so everyone can learn.