At only age 37, Andrew Skurka has already been there, and done that:
"Hiking fast was not accepted. I was frowned upon for doing the AT in 3 months."
Times have changed, and so did Andrew - he's done massive projects many people may not have even heard of: the Sea-Sea route (7,775mi), Great Western Loop (6,875mi), and the Alaska Yukon Expedition (24 days between road crossings). He's written a book, definitely has the best how-to website for backpacking (andrewskurka.com), and his perspective on FKTs is very worth listening to:
"What I find most interesting is when someone is getting on a route that is more multi-dimensional, not a 'gimme' ... that Appalachian Trail, the John Muir Trail, they're 'gimme's' ..."
I am falling more and more in love with finding routes that blend a myriad of skills. I find these creative adventures, with their problem solving and route finding, against an unrelenting clock to be so immersively engaging...to me that is happiness.
Mostly, Andrew, thank you for your contributions to the outdoor community!
Andrew, thank you for bringing some much needed notoriety to the Great Western Loop! I believe this 200 day plus adventure has the potential to become the four piece of a new hiking Grand Slam!