FKT: Dave Kwiatkowski - Rivanna Trail (VA) - 2021-12-12

Route variation
double loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 40m 3s

I ran according to the rules of the Unsupported FKT style and followed the same route rules as the previous Double Rivanna Trail holder, Nicholas DiPirro.


About 2 months before the attempt:

As a Charlottesville native and enjoying long-distance running, going after a Rivanna Trail FKT was a no brainer. First, I did what likely everyone does and checked the current FKT attempts. I knew my Dad held the 5-loop record, and I instantly ruled that out… since it’s uh, ridiculous. I checked out Neal Gorman’s record, and I realized I wasn’t in shape enough for getting the record in today’s longer route. I know someone will do it, but I’m not the one. Luckily, I enjoyed ultra running, so I checked out the double loop record held by Nicholas DiPirro. I decided I was going to get after it.


The months leading up to the attempt:

I “trained” for it, yada yada yada in my current city, Seattle.


A week before the attempt:

I studied Nicholas’ report and decided to do the same route with the minor alterations by the RTF. Because the route had changed quite a bit over the years, I split the route in 3 parts and ran a section with my dad for a few days to get familiar with it. 


Night before the attempt:

I prepared my 2 running vest bottles and 2 handhelds with Tailwind and stuffed 7 gels and 3 salt tablets in their pockets.


The attempt:

My dad dropped me off at Bodos on 29, snapped a photo of me, and I began waiting for the walk signal to turn on, which avoids the first loop’s long traffic light (pro tip). I went out in the counterclockwise direction since it tackles what is in my opinion to be the hardest stretch of the route (pro tip). My game plan was to positive split the loops, since it felt better to my brain. I theorized that I would need to shoot for about 7:50 pace or so for the first loop to comfortably beat the overall record. 

The first loop exceeded my expectations and clocked in at about 2:40:09, which is about 7:43 pace. The second loop did not exceed my expectations…

I stuffed my empty handheld bottles and gloves in the back of my vest. I knew once I got to Fontaine on my second loop, I would have the hardest section of the loop over with, so that thought pushed me through it.

Approaching Azalea Park on the second loop, I employed my familiar strategy of giving myself audible compliments. This included “Good job,” “Awesome,” “Heck yeah,” “You got this,” “Nice work,” and “Nice.” Throughout the run, I told myself in my head “In a strange way, we’re almost there” which usually made me laugh out loud and smile (pro tip).

Things really took a turn for the worse (pun incoming) when I accidentally added a freaking 0.6 mile dog-leg by the City Bus Depot. Instead of giving myself an audible compliment, I gave myself an audible “#@$&! I think we just butchered this.” Instead of giving up, I told myself to get it together and finish the attempt (pro tip). After back-tracking to the location where I made the wrong turn, I started incorrectly making tired math calculations and believed that I ruined my attempt at an overall FKT, or at least that it would be close.

Once I got to the bouncy pedestrian bridge at Woolen Mills, I felt my legs getting tired. This is when I started realizing that my goal pace was going to start getting hard, and it did. Stepping onto the paved road, I wanted the trails back. My feat missed the natural cushion of the dirt and leaves.

I struggled to get a decent pace at Riverview Park, and was pretty quickly oscillating between low and high points. At about 6 miles to go, I realized all I had left was a few sips of Tailwind ?. I made my first decent stretch of walking at River Rd, and the pattern continued on the harder uphills.

Once I finished wrapping around the culvert pipe on the CHS part of the route, I felt a bit of an emotional surge since I knew I was nearing the finish. A mile from the finish, I decided to check my overall time, and was psyched to see my math had been wrong, and I was freaking on pace for the overall FKT ✊! I ran at a pace at what felt like a sprint through the tunnel by the disc golf course and to the traffic light on 29 and stopped my watch, hands on the knees, and a tired smile on my face.

Meeting my parents at the finish, they snapped some photos, gave me some new clothes, placed me in a lawn chair in the sun by a tree across from Bodos, and handed me a cold coke and a soft bagel from the best bagel shop on Earth.