Set out to break the 2015 record by Jenn Shelton of 22:04, but also had my eyes set on breaking the previous men's record and coming as close to possible to the new records (as of a week ago, this was Ryan Ghelfi at 18:27, but this was just broken TWICE by Dylan Bowman 16:58 and then Tyler Green 16:41 all within a week of my attempt).
Chose to start at Cougar Rock since that was where both Ghelfi and Bowman started, and I liked the idea of a 2 mile gentle descent to warm up before the climb up from Longmire. The river crossing and headlamp views at Cougar Rock also make for an exciting finish. Ran clockwise. Had a pacer all day and met crew at Mowich Lake, White River, Box Canyon, and briefly at Reflection Lakes. Grateful to my crew and pacers. Due to covid-19, respected WA state laws and social distancing guidelines.
Had Ghelfi's splits and stayed mostly on those until I hit some nausea and slow miles above Panhandle Gap. Overall happy with how I managed all the stuff that comes along with running this far, especially on this terrain/exposure/sun. Saw a bear, some deer, snake, frog, a bunch of marmots, and did some fancy footwork to avoid stepping on a chipmunk. Wildflowers are off the charts right now. No route variations needed, bridge to cross White River was safe to cross at the time I came through, took the lower crossing over the Carbon River. All else as expected. Very few people out on the trail, other than a few backpackers here and there the only real groups I passed were coming into Sunrise and at Summerland. Overall a wonderful wonderland wednesday.
Good video added by admin 2/22/21: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8mpi_xNoso