FKT: Sam Kelly - Martha's Vineyard North Shore (MA) - 2020-07-25

Route variation
One way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 9m 55s

Recently turned onto the idea FKT by Athletic Brewing Company and Ryan Kempson’s attempt and record time for the Vermont 4000ers FKT I found myself looking for my own (maybe a bit more manageable) first attempt at an FKT somewhere in New England. I knew I was going to be spending a week on Martha's Vineyard and saw the FKT route for the MV North Shore. It was perfect I thought, and better yet, no one had attempted it yet, I could be the first. About 3 weeks later, on Saturday morning, July 25th around 7:35 I was standing at the very tip of the Menemsha opening east jetty, ready for my attempt. I didn't know what to expect but I was anticipating it wouldn't take me much more than 2 hours to complete the 12+ miles of beach but I had underestimated the terrain greatly. Only 4 miles in I was battling rough rocky beaches that had just enough of a right to left downward slope to the water to make if feel like I was constantly running uphill with the earth literally sliding out from under me. I could hardly look up, needing to focus on every strategical step to ensure I didn't roll and ankle or tumble to the ground. Eventually I got into a nice rhythm and when I could sneak a peek up towards the horizon it was beautiful. The temperature was nice, not too hot not too cool as I got into some more remote parts of the coastal island. It became pretty wild, so many birds, I even got a little frightened when I was forced to pass pretty close to an eagle nest. I was circled above by 3 eagles for about 3 minutes and seemed to be protecting some young. I was exhausted by the rocks and the sand, every step a struggle but I continued on as rocky beaches turned less wild and more signs of human life appeared. Boats and private beaches I scurried by below the high tide line hoping not to attract too much attention. Private beaches turned to public beaches and vice versa. It was beautiful and the sun was starting to beat down hard. I was wiped out but continued on excited to see what was around this corner and then the next one. I saw a deer bound into the brush as I passed. Didn't know there were deer on the island, but why not I guess. My cardio was there but my legs were beat and my feet faltered more often. As the sun continued to beat down on me I was forced to slow to a walk with a few miles to go to regain some strength. More private beaches and beautiful houses. I was now running past more people on their private beaches but none said a negative word about me being there and often cheered me on with a "good morning" and good it was. One last obstacle, more boulder and private cliff than beach I found myself climbing slippery rocks under an overhanging hose. It might have been the timing, the tide was rising and there was no way around but over and through so I slowly made my way from rock to rock but landed on a beach with the end in sight. Slowly I picked up the pace to find my girlfriend cheering me on to document the finish and celebrate with me. I was finally at the finish line, the tip of the Tashmoo opening west jetty. 12.4 miles in 3hrs 9min 55sec.. I was exhausted beyond belief, but it felt so good!