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:
Pen Ma rhttps://goo.gl/maps/11GYr9Cm9Swkmf7d9Start!
Raven Rock rt 491 https://goo.gl/maps/TrcLratTfz2qv29g6 One big climb @2.5 miles
Wolfsville Rd https://goo.gl/maps/NsqHHG4qAs6VkMcs6 Good amount of climbing to this aid. Dad Gowen will be here for aid, first aid of the day
Rt 70 Overpass https://goo.gl/maps/p32SZYzVRnenVSeY9Dad Gowen will be here for aid
Washington Monument State Park Parking Lot https://goo.gl/maps/4CcXjACiQWwbUuN67 There's a hand pump well right in front of the Ranger's House in Washington Monument State Park... you'll walk right by it. If that's not functioning, there's another well a few 100ft south next to the maintenance shack
Old National Pike; Alt Route 40 https://goo.gl/maps/8hKyepN94uY6dYqA6Dad Gowen will be here for aid
Reno Monument Rd https://goo.gl/maps/KsotoBp42PHcvaXy9 After you cross the road, the AT goes off to the right and continues to cross the road a few more times as you go
Gapland Rd https://goo.gl/maps/UxX9JNABJkmdkcqp7 Gathland State Park. Water spigot by the restrooms after you cross Gapland Rd
Weverton Cliff Road https://goo.gl/maps/8GXfHkSxmKKX6G4e8 Trail crosses road into parking lot then goes left under Rt 340. The crosses road again, go across railroad tracks and right on towpath for 2-3 mi. Cross river at Harpers Ferry bridge. Go down Potomac St and take left on stairs just past first building on corner (White Hall tavern). Stay straight up the hill past the church to continue on AT.
Shenandoah Street Parking Lot https://goo.gl/maps/UaZjy3HxQLJ3s8eC8 Before Crossing the Bridge to Final Climb.
Done!! Look for sign up high on tree.
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.
Way to get after it and get the FKT!! Nice work!