No action yet on the JMT, PCT, or AT ... are the existing times just too hard? But Peter is processing 5-8 submissions per day from all over the world! And, stop worrying about "Supported" vs "Unsupported" -
"If you want to go solo, go solo. If you want to go as a team, do that. But don't say one is better than the other."
And what are the early candidates for this years FKTOY?? (someone has already nominated the Arctic Fox that walked 2,000 miles from Norway over the North Pole to Greenland in 76 days - it's verified because the fox was wearing a GPS tracker!).
Here are some thoughts that floated across my mind as I listened...
It really does seem like Fastest Known Times are just going to keep gaining more mainstream speed. I was thinking about it the other day, there is a feel of pioneering still able to be had here. I mean, I remember a few times, as a daydreaming youth, pondering the feeling of having "missed the window" of time where I could have been one of the great explorers or first ascenders, while reading their harrowing tales. It was just the other day, I realized it seems like we are in that transition we have seen in other sports, where outdoorspeople are, in a major mainstream way, stepping past just being wowed by the first people to just "climb or complete" and now outdoor athletes want to see how much "creativity and speed" we can bring to their completion. (nothing new here, this has been happening for a long time...just more now) This is perhaps what the "next frontier" looks like. To borrow language from the tech world, FKTs have perhaps progressed from the "innovators", into the "early adopters" phase (partially at least), and will soon be closing in on entering the start of the "early majority" taking up FKTs as their sport. I have no clue what those will look like in total numbers, but I am curious to learn.
Also, Trail Running is still one of the fastest growing outdoor markets. The number and length of trail races seems to keep growing too. Already, it seems we are starting to see answers to the question, "what comes after 100 miles?" (just like when we saw runners explore out beyond 26.2)... we see 200 milers... but also, I think it is a very natural growth for the answer (for many) to become FKTs. In one sense, even for the most intense trail race, you are paying the race director to do the logistics and thinking for you...she/he thinks through route, nutrition, and hydration for you. The step into the FKT world seems to be that step of, "OK, I am now confident enough in my fitness at ultra distance to want the challenge of route finding, nutrition, hydration, support or no support." It feels like a more personally actualized version of the sport. Not that having the logistics managed for you so you can focus on running is lesser or a bad thing. God, I have spend countless dollars and time loving races for two decades.
It also offers a forum for a higher degree of creativity in route design based on given athletes skills...blend a dash of techy trail running with a smidge of exposed easy rock moves, bike between major peaks, or create a long enchainment of mountains based on routes you have climbed on each. The act of creating is a powerful motivator, especially when it feels like pioneering something new. To me this just starts creating an irresistible draw.
Create, Pioneer, or conquer someone else's route (be it by pure fitness or by better logistics)...so many ways to play.
Thank you Buzz and Peter for the work of love you are committed to keeping this forum for us. And thanks to all the others on this forum who are doing some really inspiring, compelling routes I can't wait to come try.
thanks for reading,