FKT: Patrick Blair, Jonathan Gowen - AT Four State Challenge (PA, MD, WV, VA) - 2022-04-21

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
6h 30m 32s
GPS track(s)

We (Daniel Frank, Pat Stem, Jon Gowen, and Patrick Blair) started just after 6:15am on 4/21/2022.  Papa Gowen was our support, could not have done it without him!  The temps were nice and the sun stayed behind clouds all day which was also nice.  

Here are our POIs:


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Patrick Blair's FKT Report/Recap: 

This was all Dan Frank's idea...  He is all about doing awesome adventures and I am just lucky that he invites me along.  Dan and Jon did most of the organizing/planning.  Dan had done the route before and they both knew the course well. 

We started at right about 6:15am on Thursday 4/22/22.  The sun was behind the clouds all day and the temps were nearly perfect.  Absolutely perfect temps would have been 5deg cooler but I am not complaining.  If your gonna go for a strong FKT you need nearly perfect conditions, and we had it!

Very soon after the start in Pen Mar we were running up a climb that is all rocks and boulders.  Oh man!  So fun!  I was leading and trying to find the next tree marker so I would not get us lost.  Trying to keep my heart rate/effort low yet still keep a nice pace for everyone else.  It was way to early to spike the heart rate.  There was some hiking but mostly just slow running through this section while we were bouncing off rocks and going uphill.

At about mile 12 or so Pat Stem started to feel not so great.  He ended up getting in the car with Jon's dad at mile 18ish at our Route 70 Overpass aid station.  The next day Pat said he still didn't feel well... I think maybe he was coming down with something, bad days happen to the best of us...

Jon, Dan, and I continued to run strong until about mile 22 or so.  Dan had a few cramps but I didn't think much of it because in my experience when things get harder Dan just seems to go even faster!  However at mile 34ish Dan got very dizzy and decided to call it a day.

Many sections of this FKT course was rocky and technical, more rocky/technical than the trails that I run daily in Patapsco State Park.  I loved all of it.  It is fun to bounce/hop from rock to rock.  I find that once I get into a rythm (or get into "the zone") it is exhilarating.  This was especially true on Weverton Cliffs descent... wow that was something!  So steep and so many rocks!! 

I was happy that we never got lost and that my stomach held strong all day.  I have had a few races recently where my stomach turns and I loose all my energy.  

At our best we were 11-13ish minutes ahead of the FKT pace.  In the last 2-3 miles I got severely light headed.  I had to stop put my head down and eat a snack.  After about 1-2 minutes I recovered and was able to finish strong.  Jon was nice enough to wait for me until I recovered so that we finished together.  We finished about 9 minutes ahead of the previous FKT.

Without Jon's dad there is no way we could have taken down the record.  I carried 2 handheld bottles with me.  We saw Jon's dad every 7ish miles.  I would quickly drop my 2 empty bottles, pick up 2 freshly refilled ones, and continue forward.  Fast aid is key to success.  You can loose a ton of time during aid stations but we were super fast thanks to Jon's dad.


Awesome work fellas! It’s so fun to watch you all do really hard stuff. 

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Way to get after it and get the FKT!! Nice work!