There are a number of challenges and considerations for this trail. I ran this route self supported and self sufficient with the view that I could accept unplanned help from people that showed up from time to time but that it was a bonus and not part of the plan. I've set the FKT as supported because I had assistance crossing the large CT river by being driven round on an 11 mile dog leg in a car) as the river has no bridge by the trail and frustratingly the official route 'glosses' over this issue. I effectively did the entire MA section self sufficiently and the entire FKT I stayed on and slept on the trail with my own gear I brought with me and kept with me until the finish. I had 3 other visits from people who came along on the route , one helped with water and recharging a charger pack and headlight batteries. I also stopped at a couple of pubs and diners for some well earned food and power charge of gear.
I decided to set the 'first' route on this with the option to get help across the CT river as the road dog leg is long and miserable and potentially dangerous if done at night. When people beat my time in the future this gives them safer and more flexible options than being forced to also do the road dog leg. Hopefully at some point a safe and sensible crossing over the CT river will have been figured out for the official path.
Its also worth noting that the NET deviates from the M and M trail in various places so a record for the M and M trail and a record for the NET in MASS will always be two different but similar records. At the moment on the FKT site there may be some confusion about this.
I also had at least three deviations from the route, either due to logging or conservation activity or due to excessively overgrown impassable areas. This is a long trail that's hard to maintain in places so anyone doing this in its entirety will find the route will be slightly different each time.
I did this in the height of summer when getting water on trail was particularly an issue. I often had to carry up to 4L at a time to stay safely hydrated between potential water sources on trail. Anyone serious about tackling this trail is more than welcome to reach out for advice and notes etc from me to help them.
I am sure in the future the time I set on course will be easily beaten, but I would question if anyone would come as close to the overall experience I had which came to encompass everything I’ve come to love and respect about the trails of New England.