FKT: Kanoa King - Sea to Sky, Haleakala (HI) - 2019-02-04

Route variation
ascent from Kaupo
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
4h 16m 46s

NEW FKT (fastest known time) up Haleakalā!!! But before I talk about that... I know it’s only February but I would like to place my nomination for wife of the year in now, Liz King! Not only was she supportive of me taking half a day of our honeymoon to go run up a volcano ? but she also woke up at 4am, drove me two hours down crazy winding jungle single lane roads to the start then took some pictures, then drove two more hours to the top to take more pictures and pick me up so I didn’t have to run down?. Obviously I’m a lucky guy, I’m in Hawaii while most of you are experiencing some form of winter but I couldn’t have been luckier to have found Liz. Now that the snappiness is out of the way let’s get to the FKT talk. So for those of you who don’t know the Fastest Known Time (FKT) is a trail run that takes place where a race can’t be held whether it be due to remoteness, permitting or for whatever other reason but is a notable trail that someone else would like to repeat. I first became aware of this route when we were planning a honeymoon and by we I mean Liz, reason 99 she’s the best wife.  So this route goes from the Sea to the literal sky at the top of Haleakalā 10,023ft the tallest point in Maui. I would next like to thank Ryan Ghelfi and trails and tarmac for getting me here, it’s not easy coming up with a training plan for a run like this in the middle of a New England winter for an athlete who lives at sea level but he did. The run started off smoothly just feet away from the water excited and ready to roll. Hoping to go out steady and not blow up to early I headed up the broken up dirt and paved road past Huialoha Church. I thought I’d save some time and skirt around the chain that was blocking the path but in the lighting I didn’t notice the barbed wire and cut my hand ( which bugged me holding my poles) and leg and  even worse ripped my fresh rabbit singlet. Too early in the run to get caught up with the little things I pushed on up the road and turning onto another road that was closer to an atv trail than a proper road. This climbed a ways until I came to the ranch where they so graciously allow hikers to pass through the “trail” to meet up with the National Pam trail. Although I wish they maintained the trail a little better than just hoping the cows and goats wander the right paths to wear it in for hikers. I had some route finding issues as I thought I might but even using GpS help I still struggled. It wasn’t just here that brush and bramble tore at my arms and legs but this was the worst of it as I dodged peeved momma cows, less that impressed bulls and overly anxious little calves, only slightly larger than my own ?. This became easier as I found the actual trail and made my way up to the national park. It was crazy how the flora changed as I left a grazing pasture to a natural forest. Almost immediately I was soaked. It was knee to thigh high grass that was so soaked it dew the only compareable feeling I could think of was running through a creek, the resistance of the grass melding with the feeling of just being down right soaked I could have sworn I was running through shin deep water. I can’t speak more highly of my shoe of choice today the Hoka Jawz, light weight big grippy lugs and breathable and dried out super quick. These jungle conditions carried on for another four miles as I passed a couple hikers one of which being an old man reminding me about my sunscreen but this was self supported and I wasn’t carrying any extra #burnt . As I continued to climb the shrubs shrank and the ground became more dry. I reached my first intersection about 35 min ahead of FKT pace and I stopped to take a picture as you can see from the picture my watch is paused instead of hitting split ? aside from my bush wacking and barbed wires this was my first hiccup. I accidentally paused my watch and then deleted the first half of my run when I tried to split it after?. 10 deep breaths as I ran back to the sign and started my watch back up mildly freaking out until I realized I also had a back up going on my phone! Always have a back up. Next few miles were  light grade climbing and I was feeling great. Ran into a random hiker looking for his beanie that I had just ost 200 m earlier. Then I came to the last cabin before my final 3000 ft of climbing and last 6 miles. This is where it got tough. The trail was called sliding sands very aptly. Have you ever walked in a beach and been like this is harder than I thought it would be? Well this was like that except up hill at 15-25% grade oh yea and through in decreased oxygen at 7,000-10,000 ft. The current FKT holder covered this in about an hour and I was feeling good cruising into this, and the I wasn’t. These last climbs were by far my hardest as the sun was beating down and I continued to push. Liz got some great pics and videos of what it was like running up out of a crater. What an incredible experience. Thank you to rabbit for my fresh kit, runner’s alley for my shoe of choice today the Hoka  jawz and scratch labs and spring energy for nutrition. Oh yea, and I set the new FKT at 4:16:46