FKT: Mark Valites - Finger Lakes Trail (NY) - 2021-09-20

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
15d 12h 10m 0s

I spend a lot of time on the FLT (mostly trail running), but have also been formally involved with the FLTC in a variety of ways for a couple years now: I’m currently a trail maintainer on a beautiful (albeit infrequently visited!) section of M3 between Little Rock City and Elkdale Country Club, write the ‘Miles with Mark’ column on trail running for the FLT News and am starting to become involved with mapping. I look forward to hopefully becoming more involved in other areas as both the FLT and FLTC continue to evolve and mature.

My first FLT News article (from the Winter 2020 edition) shares some of the previous adventures I’ve had along the FLT: (page 28). You may spot trail register entries from me under the trail name of ‘Quadfather’. Friends and I have likely have the FKT for the Onondaga and Crystal Hills branch trails of the FLT, but have not submitted them (yet...).

I tend to take a good deal of outdoor photos, which frequently include the FLT and often end up displayed in various FLTC places. The photos I share publicly can be viewed at

After becoming more involved & spending so much time on the trail, an "End to End" (in FLTC parlance) trail run always loomed in the back of my mind. After only half seriously kicking the idea around for a couple years, the two year qualifying period that opened up initially for Western States suddenly presented a window to take a shot at running across the whole trail. Living near the western terminus, traveling east to west felt like it would provide a bit of feeling of "coming home" and familiarity with the westernmost parts of the trail seemed wise to cover when I was tired / easier to adapt to/get help on if I could get through the earlier parts. I initially thought getting time off of work would be a big hurdle, but on-call coverage and vacation was arranged before I even had a chance to ask my co-workers myself. I soon found myself rounding up a half a dozen crew members to help out at least a couple days each.

A full write up of my run will get published in the Fall 2021 FLT News & eventually be available to anyone on the website. FLTC members will be able to read it sooner - please consider joining the FLTC & supporting the trail:

While I've primarily shared pretty pictures, please understand there are a fair amount of rough sections of trail - it unfortunately wasn't uncommon to find myself wading through overgrowth above my head or wandering off hard to follow trail. I recorded my run on my Garmin Fenix 6, as well as a Garmin InReach. I have plenty of (mostly poor) photos from along the trail and signed into all registers I saw. I saw less than a dozen people on trail outside of the touristy areas. 

The FLTC has recorded me as E2E finisher #503. They recognize branch trail completions separately: I was 112th to complete all of them.