I was looking for a short-ish FKT to chase that's close to my NJ home and decided to attempt an on-sight unsupported record on the Stonetown Circular on Sunday. Unfortunately the weather forecast was pretty dismal all week and didn't disappoint. It rained steadily the entire time. I wouldn't say this slowed me down too much but some of the downhills had some slick rocks that I had to be extra cautious on (I still have yet to take a real fall on the trails). Felt pretty crappy on the first two climbs but after sucking down a few gels I started to pep up. Crossed the road at about 1:00 and thought the FKT was in range but would be tough. After that I was cruising at a comfortably hard effort for a while, didn't push too hard. After unexpectedly encountering the most technical section of trail around mile 8, I figured I wasn't going to make it in time. Hit the road at 1:46 and for some reason I thought there was still a mile of downhill pavement to go, so I knew I was done. I was planning to give it a respectable 7 minute mile back to the car, expecting to finish in 1:53 or so, when I saw the sign for the Stonetown Rec and gunned the last 100 meters to finish in almost exactly 1:49, breaking the previous record by about 1 minute! Shoutout to the two previous record holders Bart and Graig for setting a solid standard, I was just barely able to sneak in there.
Overall it was a great trail. Only saw one other couple hiking, which was unsurprising given the weather. I imagine the views are pretty decent on a clear day but all I ever saw was fog. The trail is a mixture of a handful of short but steep technical climbs and descents with mostly extremely runnable sections in between. A better runner than me could shave off a lot of time in these sections. Navigation was a breeze, the trail was very well marked with red triangles on white blazes, and I never needed to check the GPS file on my phone. However, there are plenty of unmarked side trails that could get confusing if you're not paying attention.