Parked at the community garden (?) and walked to the start at the Kensington and Orchard intersection. Small section of road and then the trail wanders through meadows and woods. After a short segment of road, the route goes along the edge of the golf course. The next road section is much quieter (traffic-wise) and goes by gorgeous homes, it is also nice that it was mostly shaded. After turning back onto trail, you get some elevation gain heading up Metacomet and over to Craig’s castle, lovely views of Connecticut from that vantage point. The descent from there is a little more technical than the first half of the trail, and after passing the reservoir the trail appears that it have had much less traffic recently and actually becomes a little harder to follow despite blue blazes. I missed a few turns and had to back-track, hence the extra distance. All of the brooks on the map were dry, until very close to the end where I refilled my water bottles with a murky creek water and treated it with Aquamira. The entire solo trip was fueled by Spring Energy gels.
Each time I have submitted an FKT, I have hesitation because my times are much slower than the men, and I consider myself a “slow runner” even in comparison to the women that participate in the sport. It seems that society teaches women to doubt themselves or feel that “if my performance isn’t perfect, it isn’t valuable.”
Historically, women were not allowed to compete in running races. I have heard this cited as a possible part of the explanation for why women’s race times are often slower than their male counterparts. But I can’t help but notice that there is less female representation in running and the outdoor industry overall. The top ten women on the FKT website have just more than half the number of FKTs that the top ten men hold (162 vs 301 currently). I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but it sparks a sense of responsibility in me to keep doing what I love, setting goals and chasing FKTs, if for no other reason than to add to the volume of women (regardless of my apparent lack of speed).
I know that I am not likely to ever make a podium for running, but I love that the sport of FKTs creates a new kind of success for the participant. FKTs foster a sense of wonder for trails I have not seen and encourage adventure as a result. I think I need to cast aside the shame of my pace and continue to pursue unsupported FKTs with the hope that it paves the way for more runners/joggers to feel that they have a place in this community. It is an accomplishment to complete a new distance or tough route, and a confidence-building honor to see your name published on the FKT website for the endeavor.