Podcast: Episode 211: Going Deep on the Long Trail with John Kelly and Will Peterson


America’s oldest long trail has been a hotbed for FKT action this summer, and record setters John Kelly and Will Peterson are here to dish all about it. On July 3, 2023, John Kelly established a new supported mark on the trail that traces the 249-mile length of Vermont. Just 24 days later, Will “Sisyphus” Peterson smashed the unsupported FKT. His time of four days, 11 hours and 34 minutes was only seven hours shy of Kelly’s incredibly stout supported mark.

Today they join host and thru-hiking legend Heather Anderson to give their best beta on the trail, talk through the logistical challenges of pushing themselves on this notoriously rocky, rooty, and remote trail that nearly always gets barraged with storms during summer.

The summer of 2023 was no exception. John started his attempt shortly after catastrophic flooding decimated much of northern Vermont. In fact, it had rained 24 days that month already. The weather during this effort was better—but not by much. Ever optimistic and resilient, John managed to turn that challenge into an opportunity. 

Will completed his first year of Dartmouth Medical school in the spring, and what better way to celebrate than to go all-out by yourself on the trail?! While John had a crew with him the entire time, Will went solo, carrying a pack that weighed 33 pounds at the start.

Tune in to learn about Will and John’s sleeping strategies on the trail, why they chose their respective FKT styles, and what they agreed to be the most surprisingly hardest part.

Follow their adventures on Instagram over at @randomforestrunner and @_will.peterson. And get their full trip reports on fastestknowntime.com

Thank you so much, Merrell, for supporting the show and fastestknowntime.com! If you’re looking for a new shoe in which to test yourself on the trails, check out the MTL Skyfire 2, the ultra-lightweight, award-winning trail shoe from our friends at Merrell Test Lab. See what all the buzz is about at www.merrell.com.  




Subscribe to the Fastest Known Podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or Spotify.

Subscribe in iTunes Listen on SoundCloud Listen on Stitcher Listen on Spotify