FKT: Shane Berry - Blue Hills Skyline Trail (MA) - 2021-12-27

Route variation
double out & back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 16m 27s

On my first two attempts, I never really doubted that I would get the FKT so long as I avoided any huge mistakes. This attempt was drastically different, as Keith's most recent FKT was freaking fast. I had never been able to break 2:40 for a single Skyline lap, never mind run it for two laps back to back. Instead of racing my own internal desire to suffer, I was racing a set time. As a result, I prepared for this much more like a race than I ever have for an FKT, with a full week-long taper. I was inspired by Keith's handheld bottles and decided to cache some food and water at the far end of the trail instead of carrying any. After sleeping way through my alarm and driving to cache the supplies, I didn't end up getting started until 11:00. Not ideal, but what can you do.

I find it very hard to push the pace on the Skyline much faster than 2:50 a lap, but it feels like I could cruise at 3:00 pace for a long time. Thus, my strategy was to go out really hard on the first lap and then suffer through a second lap with whatever I had left. From the very first hill I was pushing at 80% effort. The trails were a fun layering of mud, leaves, and ice, and I fell quite a few times. A fall on my first climb up Buck Hill got my leg covered in blood, ensuring that all the hikers out on trail gave me a nice wide berth. Could be a useful strategy for next time. I slipped and slid my way to the first turnaround in 1:11. Could I break 5 hours for this? The second climb up Big Blue was humbling as always, and I bumped the effort level down considerably for the rest of the first lap to come through in 2:29, ending my hopes of a sub-5. A quick refuel and back to the trails. I lost noticeable energy and coordination with each uphill push towards the second turnaround, but I still managed to reach it in 3:50, running strong. Arriving at the base of Big Blue for my fourth and final ascent, I knew my legs were done. From here on out I power hiked most every climb before tumbling down on legs that were quickly losing coordination. Despite the struggles of the last lap, I reached the end in 5:16:27. I cannot believe that I've lowered my PB by over an hour on this run; there is no way it would have happened without Keith and Corin setting these crazy times. Their efforts have really motivated me to train this fall. Going under 5 hours is absolutely achievable, and I can't wait to see who gets there first!


**I ran the north fork out and south fork back both times. I was not aware that the FKT involved running each one in a different direction until rereading the route description today. Having run the skyline over 2 dozen times along with those individual sections much more, I have not found either direction to give much of an advantage in terms of time or effort. They offer similar tradeoffs in with big climbs and sections of rock ledges; I just prefer to run the north fork first to get the longer one over and done with. I understand if my attempt has to be flagged because of this, though.**


Regional Editor Note: Shane's time is flagged for not completing the North and South forks in both directions per the route description.