FKT: Chris McGough - Rock Creek Trail (MD, DC) - 2020-12-31

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 50m 3s
GPS track(s)

Lots of fun switching gears and planning for an FKT. Had been struggling with burnout for a while and this was just the trick. Scouted the line a few times (huge thanks to the other runners who shared excellent beta). Got some new gear (Salomon 5 set vest is amazing). And found the new challenge to be fascinating. 50k is a beast but different than the pain of an all-out marathon. Great stuff.

I brought 1000 calories and a 500ml water bottle. Water fountains were still on (scout ahead of time to be sure) and I refilled a few times along the way. Fountains are right on the path and spaced well for this effort. Conditions were ok, muddy in some trail sections. Very light trail traffic today which was awesome, slight increase around Pierce Mill.

More beta: Start at the headwaters of the great Rock Creek. The first 7ish miles are on trails and the first few miles are gorgeous as they weave through open farm fields. This section can get fairly muddy and there are a few water crossings to watch if water levels are high. Definitely refer to the map on the FKT website for this section as there are lots of social trails and markings are sometimes unclear. Then paved and rolling path for 14ish. Can be fast through this section. Signage is excellent but you will be jealous of those running on flat Beach Drive while you weave through the woods. Then 5ish miles on the Western Ridge Trail through Rock Creek National Park. Then flat with the exception of a little trail section after Pierce Mill. The moderate option is runnable, the strenuous has some rock scrambles. Net downhill is great (similar profile to Boston) and you can speed things up even more by running this with winds from the north. Ah yes, finish by running around the reflection pool, climb up the stairs and enter the Lincoln. Don’t let your dog bark inside as it is deafening and you get kicked out.