FKT: Samuel Kirk - Stonetown Circular (NJ) - 2021-08-17

Route variation
Standard loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1h 46m 11s
GPS track(s)

I listed my run time for the Strava course for the purposes of the FKT as I guess my start and stop points up in the parking lot added a little distance.

Pretty nice day, low 80s at the start and moderate humidity.  I ran solo and didn't see anyone accept for a lizard and 3 deer on the trail.  Conditions were dry.  I ran the loop a few weeks ago and think its pretty essential to do that on this course if attempting an FKT here.  I got lost several times during my first traverse and even with the scouting I overran some turns on this run starting with the very first one into the trail off the road!  I carried a pack with 32oz of water with one serving of Skratch 400 superfuel.  I ran in Saucony Switchback and tracked using my Garmin Forerunner.

The trail is rocky and steep primarily singletrack for the first half and opening into a mix of 4-wheeler trails and single track in the second half and finishing on the road.  Places where the trail is tricky are just some tight turns where another trail goes straight and you might have your head down at your feet.  Some of those come while climbing in the first mile.  Later on in the 4-wheeler trails you just have to stay aware because there are so many trails.  The first road crossing at maybe 6 miles hop the guardrail, turn left then immediate right at gate, then immediate left down short rocky drop-in to dirt road.  Stay on the dirt road for probably less than 1/2 mile when you come into the open and next to the lake.  Take the left up into the woods there.  I don't think there is a turn marker but you should see the blazes immediately upon re-entering the woods.  On my first running of the course my biggest mistake was continuing straight after crossing the powerlines the first time.  Make sure to go left there.  The following sections have a lot of crossing and parallel trails so just stay alert.  Its well marked so keep your eyes up as much as possible and you'll be some point you'll pop out on a small dirt road, turn left run about 50 feet and re-enter the trail on the left.  This section to the finish on the road is probably the most fun section in my opinion, manageable rock gardens and fresh feeling single track and relatively flatter with the exception of a scramble climb.  

From my two runs of this loop my take-away for how to run it faster is to: #1. Know the loop.  I think it would be very hard to go much faster if you don't.  #2 Get after it pretty good early.  The terrain is going to slow most people down significantly even going down.  There are several sections of descent that you just can't run and many more that I was going down as fast as I safely thought I could and was still going slow.  If I go for it again I'll push harder on the climbs and see what that gets me.