Sunday, August 4, 2013

Goal: FKT: Presidential Traverse

Sometimes, we have dreams that we internally keep to ourselves and manage to accomplish those dreams. On the flip side, we can keep them to ourselves and much more easily not accomplish them without anyone else the wiser. My point in this as a runner is that our goals can be our dreams. Earlier this year I mentioned on this blog that I intended on setting a FKT (fastest known time) on the Batona Trail in NJ. Based on how the year has played out, it does not seem likely to occur in 2013. However, in the past few months, I have been kicking around the idea of a FKT attempt during my upcoming vacation in Maine. However, the FKT attempt will not be taking place in Maine but New Hampshire in the White Mountains. It is my hope to be able to go for the FKT on the Presidential Traverse. If I fail to make the attempt it will be due to weather conditions. Weather is a huge factor as I will be in the mountains running the summits. One of those summits is Mount Washington which is known for having some of the strongest weather conditions in the world. The Presidential Traverse is a series of peaks that top out over 4000ft over an 18 mile stretch. There is 8500ft of elevation gain over the length with most of it on my planned North-South trek coming very early on. The trail will not be easy. Scenic, yes, but not easy.  To verify my attempt, I will be wearing a GPS watch. Likely the Garmin 310XT as my current GPS does not have the battery-life I need. I also plan on running with a hydration pack. I’ve been running with the pack to and from work without any discomfort or annoying bounce. This is goal is being taken very seriously and the trail is not being underestimated. Heck, I’ve even purchased the AMC’s Presidential Range map so I do not get lost and make sure I hit everything I need. Having this has made my partner feel better about my undertaking. Since this is a point to point, we are planning the attempt date around when she wants to do a day hike from the other end of the route. 

Currently, the record is held by Ben Nephew at 4h 50m 18s. Nephew is a very accomplished trail runner and knowing that means the record is not going to be easy to break. Just recently, he competed in the World Trail Championships. My only comparison to him is our results at Traprock. He has times on the course a few minutes faster than mine.  However, that does not mean I cannot run the Traverse quicker. If I believe I can do it, I can. In less than two weeks, we may have an answer. Let’s just hope the weather gives me the green light.

In other news, since my last post, I’ve run a pair of races. One trail and one road. The trail race was a 15K where I placed second. I was not happy at all with my performance. I don’t lose on the trails. Especially to a tri/duathlete. Yet, I found a silver lining. Just so happens I lost to someone who had taken 5th at the 2011 World Duathlon.  I did bounce back nicely from that result to hit the roads down in Wilimington, DE on a familiar course for a 5K. Considering, I had not run a 5K since late April and a road race since Broad Street the first Sunday of May.  I ran a fairly solid 16:18. Probably could have ground a few more seconds off but without speedwork, I’ll take it. 

With Maine not too far off, it might be a whole after the FKT attempt before a follow-up. Access to much of anything is limited up there as the only internet is at a café in a town 30 minutes away from where I stay. If anything, I might be able to get a quick Facebook post before something more substantial.

We’ll see….but for now, you know my current dream. And because you do, I’m more likely to go for it regardless if I succeed or not.


  1. You are doing great, Mike! Sometimes I use my phone, endomondo app, to back up my Garmin when it dies. Good Luck! A bunch of RVRR's and I will be doing a Grand Canyon R2R2R on November 4th!

  2. I'm excited to see how this unfolds, I hope you do get that record! I also hope that we get a chance to race one another sometime in the next few months. You say You "don't lose on trails", and that's a statement that I'm willing to attempt proving false! ;)