FKT: Regina Massingill - Flint Hills Trail (KS) - 2023-03-07

Route variation
96 miles
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
17h 3m 2s

I started my run in Council Grove to take advantage of the small net descent. I didn’t want to delay my start by driving to Osawatomie on the morning of my attempt, but this did put the wind in my face all day. The 15 mph winds definitely had an impact on my speed when out in the open, but thankfully much of the trail is lined with trees and brush which blocked the wind. I moved well for the first several miles, refilling water and grabbing food from my crew at each major trailhead. My friend Amie dropped in to pace me on foot for miles 23-50, then later for miles 72 to the end. Her husband Brendan accompanied me on his bicycle between miles 50-72. While the scenery was quite pretty out there, it became rather monotonous after a while and I had trouble staying focused. Their support helped a lot to keep me motivated and on pace. I had planned to keep my rest stops pretty short, but afternoon showers moved into the area, necessitating that I spend more time managing/changing attire at stops. Just as I arrived in Ottawa, it really started coming down. Even though we were in the middle of town, there was no good shelter so I had to eat my planned dinner (beef stew) and change clothes in the car. I’m very glad that my crew was even able to get me hot food. Amie drug me back out into the rain and onto the course as the sun set and we trudged along in silence. She kept me going at a good pace and we muscled through to Rantoul, our last stop before the finish. It finally stopped raining, but I really struggled in Rantoul, my mind and body battling against each other. On the one hand I was almost done, but every fiber of my body wanted to rest. I had started having random cramps in my calves, my glutes were tight, and my right arm/shoulder were in a lot of pain thanks to a previous injury. My fabulous crew got me going again, and I successfully arrived in Osawatomie around 11pm. The trail itself is immaculate - several feet wide, mostly gravel surface. While puddles did form during the rain, they weren’t deep. There were new vault toilets at several trailheads in the first 30 miles, although I was immensely disappointed that the restrooms on Ottawa and Osawatomie were locked shut. Besides livestock, I encountered several deer and opossums during the run, and a friendly puppy who came out to frolic with me for a bit. I set out with a goal of 18 hours, so I’m absolutely thrilled with my 17 hour finish.