Discussions of Fastest Known Time (FKT) records, which entail burly, independent efforts by diehard runners and adventurers, are often relegated to message boards and beers around a campfire instead of mainstream sports news and the glossy pages of magazines. But with more and more people establishing times on iconic routes, the concept, created by runners Peter Bakwin and Buzz Burrell, is becoming mainstream. And now, these adventurous runners have a chance to win the newly announced annual Fastest Known Time of the Year (FKTOY) award.
Heather “Anish” Anderson and Pete Kostelnick have been announced as the women’s and men’s FKTOY winners for 2016.
Anderson, who has completed 35 ultras and holds the overall self-supported (backpacker) records for the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, set a new self-supported record for the Arizona Trail. The 35-year old from Washington State covered the 800-mile route in 19 days, 17 hours and 9 minutes, often in triple digit temperatures, two days faster than the men’s self-supported FKT.
“I never expected to be selected from such an amazing group of efforts on an incredibly wide variety of challenging routes,” says Anderson who is a personal trainer and Ultimate Direction Ambassador. “The Arizona Trail is an incredible wilderness trail and I am thankful to have experienced it in such a unique and challenging way.”
Kostelnick, who lives in Missouri and has completed 27 ultras and is a two-time winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon, won the honor by breaking the 36-year-old Trans America record by four days. Averaging over 72 miles a day for 6 weeks, the 29-year-old Hoka One One-sponsored athlete covered the 3,067 miles from San Francisco to New York City in 42 days, 6 hours and 30 minutes.
To be considered for the FKTOY, FKT holders must have their principal residence in the U.S. or Canada, the FKT may be anyplace in the world, in which documentation is required and the effort must have taken longer than one hour to accomplish.
Bakwin and Burrell created the Fastest Known Time website to track records and establish a protocol for documenting records. Documentation is essential to the process, with satellite trackers and third party verification required for a record effort to be recognized. Burrell also suggests anyone who wants to establish a speed record should announce his or her intentions in advance, invite others to join in the pursuit and document everything immediately.
According to Bakwin and Burrell, who also established the FKTOY awards, the annual competition “celebrates core qualities such as personal vision, creativity and determination.” A jury of 21 people, runners and adventurers in their own right, voted for the winners from a list of five nominated FKT records for men and women. With no fixed voting guidelines, voters judged records based on their own unique equation. Suggested parameters included: how much did the record “raise the bar”; were you inspired; how much research, planning and organization was required; did it establish a better style or new way of looking at a route; and how long the previous record stood, among others.
“The appeal of FKTs are their individualistic nature, requiring personal vision, creativity, and self-determination. These are the qualities that are core to ultrarunning in general and should be the ones future participants should look to achieve in their attempts,” says Burrell about what future FKTOY contenders should keep in mind. “A big part of being nominated is being able to inspire.”
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