FKT: Sara Niccoli - Northville - Lake Placid Trail (NY) - 2021-09-05

Route variation
"new" 142 mile route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2d 8h 39m 23s
GPS track(s)

This was my third attempt at the trail and it finally came together! Done in the unsupported style meaning I carried everything I needed had no help from others from start to finish. I am grateful to friends who dropped me off, picked me up, and kept an eye on my tracker while I was out there. I began at 6:07 am Friday with the first light and temperatures were perfect (for me) throughout: low 50's during the night and low 70's during the day. It rained on and off throughout the first day and feet got wet and stayed wet for the duration of the run. This was my third time running the trail in full this year (I trained by fastpacking the entirety in four sections and then completed the failed FKT attempt from earlier in the year). This was a huge benefit. It was helpful to know the trail for the sake of navigation but more so in terms of being able to mentally break it out and anticipate upcoming tough or easy sections. My nutrition strategy was to carry 2.5 times my BMR per day and that worked well. I used foods that were mostly sugars and carbs but had some protein. I brought a Talenti jar to make cold instant mashed and pouch chicken the first night (mmmmm) and mix up a couple Tailwind recovery shakes along the way. Sleep strategy was to run through the first night with none and wait as long as I could to sleep in the second night. I made it to about 41 hours of running on no sleep and then slept hard for 1 hr 15 minutes off trail in the leaves with my quilt and e bivy. I then ran for a few hours and took a 20 minute dirt nap just before dawn. This strategy worked really well for me. My perception became altered in the second evening onward when my mind kept making objects out of the shapes of trees and branches and rocks up ahead- sign posts, buildings, bridges, a mitten, a cat. But looking down ahead what I was seeing on the trail was always clear and real and that's really all the info I needed. I saw people infrequently but when I did was so happy. My body cooperated all the way to near the very end with little coaxing until my quads decided they were trashed coming off the last descent. My mind was mostly joyful and funny and grateful and contemplative but overall much tougher to manage throughout. Unhelpful thinking about fatigue or discomfort or future possible problems needed constant gentle but firm checking. I gave myself lots of pep talks and sang and soothed and clearly the anxious and weak voices did not win the day. I was mostly good at discerning problems that can be addressed (i.e foot or gastric discomfort) and problems that can't (i.e. exhaustion) and handling them accordingly. Ignoring problems that have solutions has been an issue in the past. I'm glad I've grown in this respect. This trail is a special place on earth. It doesn't get out of the way for you or do a great job of anticipating your needs. It expects you to take it in on its own terms. I'm grateful for the many trail stewards who take on the Herculean task of maintaining any semblance of trail at all in this deep wilderness area of New York State. I am happy to claim the overall unsupported FKT besting the historical time on the shorter route as well as the time on the current route. I also can't wait to see someone else grab it. Especially a woman. Please do not hesitate to contact me, I'm happy to share my planning documents and anything else that might be helpful (even if you're a man, I guess.)

Please note, discrepancy between trail distance and my tracked time is my watches tendency to track zig zags while I sleep or stop for extended times.

Detailed trip report in Strava.