FKT Guidelines

David Anderson in the Winds

In March 2024, we made several updates to the language of this guidelines page. The substance is largely unchanged, but you may view a comparison of the previous and new guidelines here.

What qualifies as a route?

The Fastest Known Time community exists to track and celebrate the progress of speed attempts on the best running and multi-sport routes in the world. Not everything is an FKT route. Each approved route must be notable and distinct enough that others will be interested in repeating it. Ideally, routes should have beautiful scenery, historical or cultural merits, a history of competition or high level of public popularity, and a logical and aesthetic line on the landscape. We recognize that not every route will meet all of these standards, but this is what we will aim for when evaluating route submissions for inclusion on the website.

Length and Surface: Routes must be at least 5 miles (8 km) long or have at least 500 feet (150 m) of elevation gain. This is a minimum—just meeting these requirements does not guarantee that your route will be approved. A route can be on any surface—road, trail, or off-trail—and should primarily involve running or hiking.

Routes should begin and end at logical points. This usually means a trailhead, the end of a named trail, or a distinct geographical feature like a mountain summit, body of water, cultural site, or other prominent landmark.

Multi-Sport Routes: Multi-sport routes will be considered as long as they primarily involve running or hiking. Multi-sport routes will typically be held to a higher standard than entirely on-foot routes and must be especially notable to be accepted. Non-running modes that are typically considered for multi-sport routes include swimming, biking, climbing, scrambling, skiing, and unpowered watercraft.

Motorized travel for the purpose of linking important features may be allowed if this is standard and community-accepted precedent for past attempts. Regional routes involving multiple summits or trails often have variations for driving between and for biking between, like the Vermont 4000ers or the Big Three UK Rounds.

Routes may include rock climbing or scrambling sections in order to reach summits or make logical connections in running routes. Submitters should note if specialized equipment or technical ability is required or suggested for the route. Any route that includes climbing, scrambling, or significant exposure to falls should clearly identify these risks in the description.

Race Courses: When a race course meets the criteria for FKT routes and has strong community interest outside of the race itself, we will consider including it. A supported FKT can be set during a race. To set a new supported FKT on a race course, an athlete must improve on the existing course record; please research course records before submitting a supported FKT on a race course.

Private Property and Permits: Routes must be accessible to all. Routes shouldn't go on private property except in rare circumstances where there is permitted access to the public. If a permit is required to access the route, the description should include information on how to get that permit.

Additional guidance: Routes should follow logical, aesthetic lines on the map and the landscape, and should reflect what the local community most often does. We expect route submitters to have researched the route and its history. Submitters should be sufficiently connected to their local community to submit routes that correspond with actual local interest. Please keep to existing trails where applicable; submissions that cut switchbacks—whether route or FKT submissions—are likely to be declined.

Some areas are already well represented on the FKT map; the standard for new routes in these areas will be higher than in areas with no or few FKT routes.

With the exception of routes that have strong existing public documentation, submitters should generally scout a new route in its entirety before submitting it for consideration.

Fastest Known Time is intended to be a bucket list of the best routes in the world. In submitting a new route, describe why it meets this standard, and understand that acceptance will depend on persuading your regional editor that your route qualifies. Further information is in this "How To Submit A New Route" article.

What qualifies as an FKT?

Calculating time

The clock starts at the beginning of the route and does not stop until the end. Please ensure that when you submit an FKT the time is the "elapsed time" and not “moving time.”


Anyone can do an FKT. You must give your actual name to be credited with an FKT. All FKT athletes should comply with WADA protocols. Anyone banned by a sport governing body for a doping violation will not be eligible and may be stripped of previous FKTs. There is room to disagree about our sport, but please keep it civil; we reserve the right to remove threatening or abusive comments and users from the platform. All submissions are governed by Outside’s Terms of Use.

Timing and Verifying

Verification is required; please see the FKT Verification page.

Fastest Times only

Only the fastest time is listed, posted chronologically in each gender category and style. There is no “leaderboard.” If you attempted a route but came up short of a new FKT, you are welcome to post a comment on the route page letting everyone know what you did.


We maintain separate categories for Female, Male, Non-Binary and Mixed-Gender Teams. A Mixed-Gender Team is any group of athletes who are not all the same gender (Female, Male, or Non-Binary). Same-gender teams are considered in the same category as individuals of that gender (see below for more about teams). In addition, there are three styles (or levels of support) and thus up to three separate FKTs within each category. For any single effort, you may claim an FKT only in one category, even if it could apply to two (e.g. “unsupported mixed-gender team” and “supported female”). There are no age groups.


There are three levels of support, called styles. Each route may have separate gender categories for these three styles, and FKT submissions must state which style was employed. While these three styles are different from each other, none is better than the others; do what works best for the route and you.


Unsupported means you truly have no external support of any kind. You must carry everything you need from start to finish except water from natural sources. Public taps along the trail are fine, but no water from any commercial source even if free. This naturally limits the length of an unsupported trip. Spectating pre-arranged by an athlete is supportive, and was classified as support starting February 4, 2021. All FKT classifications previous to this date remain unchanged. Phone and digital communication is not considered support, nor are spectators and support people at the start and finish. Using public restrooms is not considered support, though using it as extended sheltering would be. Charging digital devices or headlamps at public power sockets is acceptable for unsupported attempts.

To be unsupported, all equipment and gear must be carried from start to finish. Wrappers/Trash (not gear/clothing) may be properly discarded along the way. One may drop gear (such as a pack while summiting a peak) if one returns to it and brings it back to the finish on the same trip. Using a bike or kayak can be unsupported if the above condition is met, such as on an out-back route where a bike is ridden from the start, left temporarily, and ridden back to the finish. If a bike or any other gear is cached in advance or left along the way, the effort is not unsupported.


Self-Supported means you may have as much support as you can manage or find along the way, but not from any thing or person just for you; any support you employ must be equally available to anyone else. This can include caching supplies in advance, purchasing supplies along the way, staying at motels, and finding or requesting food or water. Camping in a friend's yard would be supported, because it is not available to the public. Many long thru-hiking routes are done self-supported. To get a self-supported FKT you must also beat the fastest unsupported time.


Supported trips can have as much support as you can enlist, as long as you are entirely self-powered. This can range from one person accompanying you for part of the run, to an entire team that runs with you the whole distance giving you everything short of physical assistance. Whether it’s just once or continuously, any support at all means it’s a supported trip. On many routes, the supported style can enable the fastest trips due to the ability to carry less weight. To get a supported FKT you also have to also beat the fastest self-supported and unsupported times.

Groups and Teams

Groups of people can employ any of the three styles as long as they all travel and finish together; a team may share gear and still be unsupported. However, if one member drops out that means they paced the other members, so the finishers will automatically be supported. Speaking and traveling with strangers you encounter by chance does not count as support. Running with a dog is not considered support.

Motorized travel and Equipment

All FKTs are self-propelled, though variations of certain routes allow a motorized vehicle to link significant features or to cross water or other obstacles. Use of motorized transport can never be considered unsupported; if an athlete drives, e-bikes, hitchhikes, takes public transit, or uses rideshare apps for off-route logistics (or linking features where specified in certain variations), the effort can be self-supported. If someone you know drives you it will be supported. Certain routes have a strict ethic of exclusive foot travel for self-supported records, even for off-route logistics; when this is the case, it will be stated in the route description (e.g. the Pacific Crest Trail).

Route Variations


Loops and point-to-point routes can be run in either direction; thus there usually is no variation established and the route will not specify a direction. A few major routes do have separate variations for the direction traveled (N-S or S-N on the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, for example), and this may also apply to point-to-point routes with substantial net elevation change. Loops and out-and-back routes may be started and finished at any point.

One Way and Round Trip

All ascent and point-to-point routes may also have a round-trip variation, and vice versa. To request a variation be added, use the new route form; you need only put the existing route in the Route Name field, and the variation you want in the Description field; these will typically be added.

On a single effort, you may set both an FKT for the one-way and round-trip variations; however please submit two Add an FKT forms.

One mountain may have numerous trails to the top; rather than list them as separate routes, these are usually listed as variations on one route or as an open route from a starting point to the summit.


There can be a Variation for multiple laps on one route, such as multiple Grand Canyon Crossings. For shorter routes, the number of laps should be logical, such as 10 or 20 laps, or number completed within 24 hours.


Routes can be run in any season and weather varies from year to year, so usually there is no variation for season. A few major routes with a tradition of seasonality may have a separate variation for winter (between the winter solstice and spring equinox, unless there is a prevailing local definition of winter that differs).

If you have questions about which direction or season to complete a route, our advice will typically be to make the choice that you think will let you finish fastest.

Premier Routes

These are ten high-visibility Routes that attract national attention and top athletes, including professionals. These are the routes with the most FKTOY Nominations. You are required to be extra diligent in announcing, verifying, and listing these FKTs so the integrity of your effort will be protected and trusted. For every attempt on a Premier Route, please:

  1. Read the FKT Verification and FKT Guidelines pages.
  2. Announce your attempt in advance to the FKT team. We also recommend that you announce with a comment on the route page.
  3. Verify your attempt without fail; knowing how to use devices to verify an FKT is part of your essential skill set. Live tracking was formerly required, but as of 2024, it is optional but recommended. For multi-day routes, we are still happy to post your live-tracking link to the "Tracking Now" section of our home page if you provide us with the link.

These are the current Premier Routes:


  • Pacific Crest Trail, CA, OR, WA - Wildfires are closing sections of this great trail every summer, making year-year comparisons overly problematic.
  • Trans-Zion, UT - A rockfall closed a major section (the East Rim Trail), with the NPS stating, "We would guess that the area will continue to be closed for many years".  Zion Crossing is the same minus the East Rim Trail, but is not a Premier Route.

Have fun!  And if you come up short, no worries - that is part of the sport - post your result in the Comments section of the Route so everyone can learn.  Also make sure that you not only abide by our guidelines but the trail association for your FKT.