FKT: Matt Kirk - Umstead State Park, Every Single Trail (NC) - 2022-03-06

Route variation
any route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 30m 2s
GPS track(s)

Post with photos here:

In February, I ran every single trail at Umstead State Park in a lowest mileage and fastest known time. The park was okay with my route, but the FKT site rejected it due to bushwhacking. This inspired me to go back. I'd play by rewritten rules and stick to trails, which would add about 1.5 miles. 

The chance to try again came on the same weekend as the Umstead Trail Marathon. Not ideal. Rather than run through the Saturday race mayhem, I opted to start Sunday morning right as the park opened at 8 am to get in as many miles as possible before the temperature got close to 80 degrees.

The park was hopping. Right at the start I could tell by the stagnant humid air that we were in for a doozy. Thankfully a breeze kicked up as the sun got higher. But the early spring forest offered little shade. Without the occasional cloud cover, I don't know if I would've been able to finish.

I took extra time at each fountain and spigot to douse my head with water and chug a bottle of water. I wasn't conditioned to this heat and neglected to carry enough electrolytes. At least I had an extra collapsible bottle for the 10 mile dry stretch in the middle. I passed halfway at 2:31.

Given that it was just getting hotter, I knew sub 5 was out of the question. Soon I watched my previous time of 5:15 slip from reach as I struggled through a low along Sycamore. In my daze, I couldn't remember the exact time to beat. I settled on 5:30 as a safe and achievable goal.

I kept the fluids and gels coming and managed to keep from cramping. But it was more survival mode than anything towards the end. Respect to Mark Manz for setting a stout time. I finished in 5:30:02. The distance was 36.6 miles. I've enjoyed getting to know this great park even better.