FKT: Blaine Doyle - Bob Marshall Traverse (NY) - 2023-09-27

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
9h 31m 44s
GPS track(s)

Such a burly route. Did it the hard way. Went out way fast and paid for it. There's time left on the table for sure. This can definitely go sub 9. 


The following is a really long race report because I think they are cool and because I want someone to take this faster: 


TL;DR: I went into this attempt without much training geared for this specific effort, however, I felt motivated and excited for it, knew the trails and terrain super well, and think that it is suited for my strengths (technical trails, ascending, and effort management). My game plan was to drop my vest and run every out and back (big slide, LWJ, Haystack, skylight, Iroquois, Wright, and Jo), run every descent, and hike everything else. I had three stops planned at sno bird, 4 corners/grey trail cutoff, and colden dam. I felt really good and got up to Marcy ~4 hours 50 mins, under 9 hour pace. Kept that going up skylight and down to colden but the wheels were falling off. Fell off pace with a long stop at the dam and the Algonquin ascent but kept in controlled through till the end. There’s still time to be taken off for sure. I believe I can go sub 9 though I don’t think I’ll attempt it again. I think that someone could feasibly bring it to 8:30 if they train specifically for it or are just crazy fit. It is such a sick route and I really want to see it get even more competitive. I have a lot of thoughts on how this can get lowered. Reach out to me if you have any questions or thoughts! 


I’ve been thinking about this one for a bit. It was one of my goals going into the summer but it was way in the back of my mind because it was so so wet this summer and I felt more motivated by shorter efforts for a while. However, partly because Scott’s effort lit a fire under my ass and partly because I started craving a long day in the mountains, I started feeling a lot more motivation for it about a month ago. 


I officially started planning on making a go about 3 weeks ago. I had been training at a pretty low volume previously so I tried to have a super short volume training block in the lead up, with with key sessions: a long bike ride and a huge Vert day. However, I New going into the attempt that my training was far from dialed for this sort of effort. I think the best Bob training is just really long days in the high peaks, which Id been lacking recently. In fact, a lot of my training has also centered around LT effort work to prime myself for the Cascade Porter FKT. Which I don’t think is really useful for the Bob. It’s just about grinding out miles on Adirondack trails. 


I felt like I took a few gambles going into this. Firstly with my training not being primed for this effort. I’ve also been dealing with a slightly messed up right hip flexor recently. Nothing too bad but a nagging pain that I was worried about possibly blowing up during the effort. Finally, I completely changed my nutrition plan the night before to incorporate more liquid calories which I’d never experimented with before. Chose some caffeinated tailwind. Other than that, most of my calories came through Maurten. I had ~20 Maurten (7 caff), 13 scoops of caffeinated tailwind, 1.5 cliff bar, 1 pop tart, 3 Gu drink tabs, a few M&Ms, 2 sunbelt granola bars, a pack of cliff blocks


However despite those gambles, I definitely had a few things going for me. I love climbing. I love going up mountains, either by walking or power hiking. And there’s a whole lot of that in this route. I also have a lot of experience on this terrain and have done these trails many times before so knew everything I was getting into. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous and dry and beautiful Finally and most importantly, I just felt super motivated for it. I knew this could go sub 10, and I wanted to be the one to take it there. 


I did some scouting on less familiar parts in the week leading up and settled on a game plan. I wanted to drop my vest and run every out and back (big slide, LWJ, haystack, skylight, Iroquois, Wright, and Jo) with a soft flask in hand and a small hip belt. I knew I’d be hiking most of the vert on the range, so wanted to give myself a few scheduled times to run and just change up the type of effort. I wanted to have two big stops at sno-bird and lake colden and a smaller one at 4 corners. 


My day was super solid overall. I could have hydrated better and not in the way you’d guess. But other than that, i couldn’t have asked for a much better outing. I followed that plan almost to a T (other than not dropping pack for mt up). My hip flexor stayed intact other than some minor pains. Tailwind did me wonderfully and my nutrition felt on point. My gear worked great. 


I had a nice warm up hike in, dropped pack, and got all my stuff ready for a quick transition at the JBL. I started my watch sometime after 7:30 and out and backed big slide in around an hour. I felt super good and super in control on it. Half ran half hiked up to the notch, still felt good on the out and back to LWJ, and prepared for a long push to sno bird. Hiking legs get as good as running legs, I was getting in a rhythm hiking with my poles on the ascents, and jogging all the descents and I was hitting a peak every 15 minutes. I started dreaming about Marcy by 4:30 and really tried to stay moving. 


Descending gothics I started to feel it. But I threw in some headphones and managed to stay pretty good mentally. I feel out of my rhythm and lost some time from my 4:30 Marcy goal on saddleback and basin but hit sno bird still feeling pretty good. Got some solid food in me and water and refills. Sometime on the range beforehand I had peed super yellow so started trying to make up for that with more a lot water. That’s would prove a poor call later on. 


Started toward haystack after a few minutes sitting and felt super good on the out and back. Felt the best I did all day on the climb up Marcy. Felt strong and was running a bit. Summited at 4:50 ready to attack the rest. Put my poles away and shot down the backside of Marcy. Planned to drop pack immediately and out and back skylight super fast but ended up needing to stop at the thunder box at 4 corners. Felt good on skylight, but started to feel out of my rhythm again. Bright my pack over to the grey trail to fill up water. Chugged a bunch of water again (mistake) filled up a soft flask to hold on the descent to colden dam, and got out headphones because I knew from experience I didn’t love this descent down. 


The trail down from uphill lean to down the opalescent was tough. Super muddy and just couldn’t get in an good rhythm. It’s always longer than I think. Started to feel some cramping coming on and started having to pee a lot. Hitting the dam I was at the lowest point of the day. Knew I needed a big stop. Took my time filling water and added ~1 liter to my bladder. started downing electrolytes to counteract the cramping. From here on out I would only drink electrolytes (primarily gu tabs) and no more plain water. Changed socks. Tried to get some solid food in. Spent a lot of time asking myself why I do these things. 


Started again at a much much slower pace. Jogged over to the climb up algonquin and settled in for a long ascent. Battled cramps the whole way up. Sucked down gu tabs. Stopped once or twice to refill electrolytes. But felt more and more like myself on the way up. I had no clue where I was pace/time wise any more by the time I got to the Iroquois turnoff so I stopped trying to think about that. Felt better on the OAB to Iroquois but could barely run vert anymore. Hike up algonquin felt pretty good, and I put my poles away at the top. Made good time to the weight turnoff but that out and back felt so slow. Couldn’t run any Vert anymore, but still felt good on the descents. 


Going down from wright I started to feel the race come back to me. I filled up once more at the waterfall and threw more gu tabs in my soft flasks. Get good descending and just opened up my stride more and more as the grade diminished. Still had no clue what my time was going to look like even as I got to the loj at ~9hrs. Didn’t stop at the loj at all but ran straight through till the Jo trail. Stopped briefly at the trail register to get my poles out. And hiked it up. This didn’t even feel bad. By this point I finally knew I could get near 9.5 hrs and the goal was so in sight. Put my poles away at the top and took the descent down. Ran as hard as I could back from the trail register and stopped my watch right in front of the loj (I could’ve stopped it earlier at the Jo trail sign but I wasn’t thinking). 


Technical Details: 


Gear- everything worked great, loved the shoes particularly 

Shoes: Scarpa Ribelle Run

Vest: Salomon Adv Skin 12

Poles: BD Carbon Distance Z

Filters: Katadyn BeFree and Salomon Soft Flask 


Nutrition- ~4500 cals consumed

Water: 1.5 liter bladder (filled at colden dam ~1 liter)

Tailwind: 2x 0.5 liter soft flasks (Idek how many refills, ~14 scoops of tailwind @100 cals each

Gu Drink Tabs: ~5 @80 cals each 

Maurten: 7x caf, 14x non caf @100 cals each

M&Ms: like half a handful 

Pop tarts: 1 

Cliff bar: 1.5

Cliff Blocks: full pack