FKT: Dean Banko - Five Star Trail Loop (PA) - 2024-02-07

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2h 12m 56s
GPS track(s)

Did the Five Star Trail Fkt On 2/7/24.

I’ve been on the trail before just a couple times did a race on it once and videoed it in its entirety for my youtube channel once on my bike. So I had a good idea what to expect. I also played softball at lynch field so I knew what the track around it was like.

Well even with knowing what to expect I was tossed some curveballs during my FKT completion. Mainly it was the softness of the trail the first half of it. Basically any crushed limestone part was mostly soft. Some spots worse than others. Still runnable but not as fast as a dry solid route would be. It did make my legs tired more. Also made me work harder.

I started at the corner of the aerobic center. There isn’t a marker to the official start spot by that parking lot so I found a yellow traction plate on the cement on the sidewalk that I used to start and stop the fkt on. Its actually a little bit back from the corner of the parking lot. I think thats a better official starting point either way I was just behind the corner of the parking lot from the vague suggested start so that way there no question I did the whole thing. Since the yellow traction plate is a good reference of me being there and anyone can see it.

I did the outer loop of lynch field. There was people there even mid day. Most people were on their phones and were on the right hand side of the trail coming towards me not on the left hand side of me as they should have been so I was a little annoyed people didn’t know trail etiquette.

It’s about .75 miles around the outer loop till you hit the beginning of the trail. I did not know this but they do close the outer loop if there is snow and ice on the loop. There was two barriers one at each end of the far side of the loop stating it. So if someone decides to run this loop use cation in bad weather because you wont be allowed to do unless you disobey the barriers they will have up. Today they had them off to the side.

I hit the trail and did the steepest part of and where I think most of the elevation comes form in that first 2ish tenths of a mile. Up through the underpass. Which since has been nicely repainted with great depictions. Then I hit the soft rail trail for the next 4 or so miles. Some spots are asphalty but not much the 1st half. It doesn’t seem to get a lot of sun at least this time of year it also felt colder. I felt good early on but I had to pee so about 3ish miles in I had to stop portajohn to pee at the first trail head who had one. Felt better after that. Not much happened on the way out until Youngwood. I forgot how close you were to the train tracks. They literally are right beside you with no guard rail separating. You can reach over and touch some that are in use. What slowed me down on the way out was traffic. The couple intersection you cross had cars coming so I had to actually stop to cross. Which is annoying. Same thing happened on the way back. On the way back some dude literally causal walked across one in front of 2 cars and took his time doing so.

On the way out I like the first industrial side you run on as you get off of the five star trail in Youngwood and run along the industrial complexes that connect you back to the trail. Its still part of the trail but its not marked as such its just assumed it is because there is an actual side of the road to run on well bike lane I guess is the correct term on either side of the road, its just a lane on each side of the road not a full 2 person trail. On the way back when you run on the other road on the other side of the industrial complexes there is no bike lane and as your running you have to watch as traffic comes toward you since there is no place to step off.

As you take the shorter five star trail extension to pavilion lane you do the same thing. On pavilion lane and you run up towards WCCC to connect back to the trail there is absolutely no place to run safely. You are running on a two lane road with no place to actually run on it. I had to run in ditches at times and people yards to avoid cars since cars were coming both ways and cars were not slowing down till the other lane passed and then go around they made me get off the road and try to squeeze into the little space there is which there was none to keep going. So I think this section is a bad design. Its unsafe with the traffic since there is no place to actually run and going into peoples yards, ditches and around telephone poles to avoid being hit by a car isn’t wise. Was so happy when that roughly mile was done.

Once getting back on the trail and finishing the out part I took a pic of the 7 mile marker at the end. And touched the benches at the end in fairness to signify I made it the whole way to very end. Your watch will say more then 7 miles it will be over 8miles  because it does not count the loop around the park and going around onto the road. The way back is shorter since your taking a inside loop on the actual trail and not the farther out road. Did pee again at the end of the trail since it could be concealed there.

Legs did get stiff since I stopped to pee and take pictures. I really didn’t want to continue but had to get back to my car. I just knew it was going to suck going back and my times would slip making me slower. The way back newer loop section at the end around WCCC is so much nicer then the rest of the trail.

As I said already about the industrial road on way back just sucked. Couple big tractor trailers I thought were kind of close to hitting me. But had no where to go. Maybe I just hit that part of the trail at a bad time and the pavilion lane when there was heavy traffic who knows. I'm not on the trail enough to know.

I just plugged along on the way back. Instead of looking at my watch with the mileage going up screen I used the mileage going down screen on the way back. Its was a nice mixup for me mentally to see it going down and not up with each step.

As a cation there was some people smoking weed along the trail on benches having it blow on the trail so if you run it be prepared to possibly encounter it. Left nasty taste in my mouth as I ran by.

The miles counted down with each step. I was so thankful to be getting closer to being done. On the way back I forgot that the mile markers somehow aligned with my watch. Plus the final .75 around Lynch field. So at say at the 4 mile marker I knew I had 4.75 left. They have markers every quarter of a mile.

I guess that’s about it story wise. I just know my legs were beat. Rail trail beats me up more then technical terrain because of having to use the same muscles the whole time. Plus I never found a rhythm today. Which made running harder as well. Id say I left a good 30 minutes of time out there today. I was 23 minutes off me half marathon time mark when I hit 13.1 And I know I added to that the last 3 plus miles. So there is a lot of time someone can knock this down way lower. More so in dryer conditions. Also my hydration pack was a pain in the butt today. My flasks kept popping out of the loop that holds them in place and I packed to much extra stuff because I didn’t know if I was going to get cold on the trail since it was still only near 50 degrees not hot but not freezing so I thought maybe once I started sweating id get chilled so I took gloves, gaiter and windbreaker in case added more weight then id like to have had.

Anyway I got it done and i'm happy I finished it and took the FKT. I'm honest in my story telling and overall I thought I did horrible today. Maybe ill go back in a few months in a few months and lower it.