Some moons ago we received an IG message from a guy stateside asking us "what our motives were on the FKT scene". Several conversations over many months and we have become great friends with the guy they call the "King of FKT".
So who is this dude? What is an FKT? Where is he now?
This blog is an accompaniment to the latest Camino "Legends of Running Endurance" podcast Episode 12 where we chat with Jason Hardrath on all things "fastest know times" and specifically about his latest challenge - Washington Bulgars - tagging 100 peaks in 50 days.
FKTs are Fastest Know Times. In essence there have been iconic routes around the globe for centuries. In olden days there would often be local folklore about who had completed the route in the fastest time. You can follow the legend Davy Crockett's Ultrarunning History website to see how some of these have been in existence for a thousand years.
A few years ago a tribe from the US set about cataloguing these records on a new website www.fastestknowntime.com. It has been well documented that the Pandemic (which resulted in over a year of cancelled races) paved the way for an explosion in the FKT space. Iconic routes were supplemented with a series of new routes as more and more runners went in search of routes in their neighbourhood.
Our first foray into FKTs here in the UK was with the blue-ribband route - Capital Ring. The 75 mile/120KM route around London takes you through all the best parks and forests and over the past few years some of the very best UK runners have made this one of the toughest records to own. This encouraged us to complete other London based FKTs and also to do our own research into discovering valid trail routes all inside the city. After a while, with 20 FKTs under the belt, there was more of a draw towards the FKT Leaderboard and some interest in the runners around the globe who had 30, 50 and even more FKTs.
There was only one guy on a passionate drive to be the first one to 100 FKTs - Jason Hardrath.
In 2015 Jason's running was set back due to an accident that left him with multiple broken ribs, shoulder, and a torn ACL among other injuries. His mindset in recovering from his injuries is what drove him to heal up and then thrive. He chose to move forward, learn, and grow.
In the podcast Jason beautifully shares the journey he had been on - combining fast trail routes but also more and more tough and technically challenging high-peak FKTs that have become his passion. We discuss the "classic rounds" we have in the UK - Bob Graham/ Paddy Buckley/ Ramsey etc but these are all "inside 24 hour" challenges - with the FKTS being epically close to 10 hours. As Jason got closer to his beloved hashtag #journeyto100fkts he knew that he wanted to hit no. 100 with something off the charts.
Step up the Washington Bulgars. 100 peaks to be be "bagged" in 50 days.
To put Jason's challenge into context:
Current record is 410 days
Some of the peaks are currently in zones with either fire warnings or dangerous glaciers
6 of the peaks would be easier to reach if Jason were able to go into Canada (current Pandemic issues mean that this is not possible)
Some peaks will take almost 4 days of Barkley marathon type terrain to get to and back from
Jason will have some support but will do much of it solo.
There is much more to Jason that just being an endurance legend. Jason is a school teacher (he is using his summer leave for this 100th FKT attempt) - He spends much of his time inspiring his school kids to get access to things he has seen unavailable to other kids - trails and places and kit for climbing. Jason always spends a huge amount of his FKT time looking for ways to "give back" and this includes a preference to see funds go to organisations that take care of the trails that he loves.
As we release this podcast Jason is just over 10 days into his challenge.
We highly recommend that you follow his channels
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/jasonhardrath/
Show-notes will contain links to Jason's epic courses.
All the Best our Bro x 100 FKTs all the way.