FKT: Justin Agler - Adventure Hiking Trail (IN) - 2021-11-14

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 52m 22s
GPS track(s)

Editor's note: This is the first FKT submitted after the 2.5-mile reroute of the Blue River section. This is the new alignment of the Adventure Hiking Trail.

This is one of the toughest, most relentless, and technical trails I've been on in a long time. Most trails have sections where it at least levels out and you can get a break from steep uphills/downhills, but this trail felt like it had none of that. I did my best to take any opportunity to bank a little bit of time on the rare and relatively flat and nontechnical sections where you could get your legs moving quickly, but those segments were always just a tease and VERY short lived.

This perhaps wasn't the best time of year to run on this type of trail since it makes the footing that much more difficult with it being covered by a bed of leaves, but this forced hard effort is what I needed a few weeks out from Red River Gorge 50k. The climbing was perfect for what I needed too.

Weather was cool enough at high 30s/low 40s, but the steady rain that was present for about 2 hours of that made some of the footing much more difficult and slippery, and made it difficult/nearly impossible to operate my phone for route finding with cold and wet hands. Learning my lesson from previous FKT attempts, I'll never do one of these without my phone again. Looking at a map of this trail beforehand, I could see that there were tons of intersections where I knew I would get lost. The Gaia GPS App saved me several times and I ended just running with phone in hand almost the entire way, checking periodically to verify that I was still on the AHT. The trail was marked pretty well with the green and white markers, but there still were a handful of tricky sections that required checking GPS. There was only one short section where it briefly ran along and crossed a logging road that I ran by the turnoff. I realized it quickly though and made my way back to the trail, probably not losing an appreciable amount of time - just an annoyance.

I knew I was well ahead of pace at about 2 hours in, but I think with the fatigue setting in, the trails getting more sloppy/slippery, and perhaps getting even steeper and more technical than they already were, significantly slowed me down. Part of me gave up about 3 hours in, but I kept moving and realized that I should be fine based on where I was with about 3 miles to go and started pressing the pace a little more from there to the finish.