FKT: Tara Dower - The Priest & Three Ridges (VA) - 2024-01-07

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 10m 50s

I'll have a video up soon on my YouTube channel (Tara Treks) soon about the FKT. Just wanted to go ahead and submit this here. 

I left the parking area with intentions of going after my friend’s Rachel's self-supported FKT on the route of 5 hours and 2 minutes. I had set out a resupply of gels and water near my van on the far side of the parking lot and started the climb a little after 11am. I made it up to the summit of Three Ridges relatively quickly and felt pretty good. It was icy at the summit with slick rocks and lots of leaf cover. As I ran down a couple miles later I twisted my ankle and had to stop and sit. This happened 4 more times with the last time being a mile from where I’d pick up my resupply and continue up the Priest. I held my ankle and decided I’d have a better shot at going unsupported (this would give me around 40 more minutes) because I didn’t want to push myself further and keep injuring my ankle. I had packed a lot of water in my ultraspire pack, and had a couple gels left over to get me to the top of the Priest. I bypassed my resupply at the parking area and headed up the 3,000ft ascent to the Priest shelter with ease. These days with my ankle it feels better to climb then descend. I twist my ankle on the downhills. I touched the shelter and turned around. It began to lightly snow and the temperature was dropping.

I was taking the downhill very easy, keeping my focus on the trail in front of me, careful not to step wrong and hurt my ankle again. I looked up and saw a completely naked man about 20 yards ahead of me. 6’2’’ish, dark long hair, medium build and bare bottom. He was gingerly crossing the trail and I saw no pack, clothes, or shoes in sight. I thought maybe I was hallucinating but he looked so real. The man was right off the trail and was turned away from me holding his junk looking real shy. As I passed by quickly I asked if he was okay and he let out a meek “yeah..” I was pretty cold and I had been running all day and had layers on. He was completely naked so I can’t imagine how cold he was. I confirmed with a couple I’d passed earlier that day that they too saw the man matching my description except he was clothed and had a pack on. Not quite sure what that was about but I continued my run to the parking area where I tagged the trail sign at 5 hours and 10 minutes.