Do you consider yourself a trail runner, an ultra-runner, a speed hiker, or something else?
I’d say where my expertise lies is in “fastpacking,” which is essentially what FKTs are. So in between a lightweight thru-hiker and an ultra or trail runner.
The big runs you’ve done, sometimes unsupported for weeks at a time, take a lot of mental toughness. Are there lessons from those experiences that apply to our current times?
One hundred percent. I think the biggest one is finding consistency, routine, and meaning in the day-to-day. It’s all about those micro-moments. An interesting part of sports psychology is that the people who are successful are those who develop and stick to routines. I’m still running at the same times, I’m still taking lunch breaks at the same time. But I’m also using this opportunity to explore new trails, roads, and routes that I typically wouldn’t have time to do.
Looking ahead, what are you hoping to do this summer?
: I’d love to do the John Muir Trail, but Yosemite’s closed. I’ve wanted to do the Long Trail in Vermont, but that’s also closed for now. And then the Wonderland Trail in Washington. Those are projects on my radar that are cast into question now. I’m really hoping UTMB
still happens. It’s the coolest race, and I was planning to do the full 100-miler this year, so I’m going to be bummed if it doesn’t work out.
What is it about chasing an FKT that excites you?
I think it’s just the ultimate challenge. I almost said “the ultimate physical challenge,” but it’s so much more than that. But that’s what makes FKTs FKTs, right? It’s a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge. And it’s a chance to leave your footprint on some of the coolest trails that you know and love. The start and finish lines are just the beginning and end of the trail. There’s no fanfare. You are your own master when it comes to the schedule. Are you going to sleep for four hours and try to rest and recover? Is it better to eat an extra 1,000 calories to keep going longer? Are you going out too hard? Are you going out too easy? Your right leg is cramping, what can you do with what you have to heal that? And when you’re doing it self-supported, you’re really out there all the way.