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FKT Smasher Jack Kuenzle Breaks His Own Record on Presidential Traverse

Ultrarunner Jack Kuenzle is something of an FKT phenomenon. And with this latest accomplishment, he shows no signs of slowing down.

A man wearing a running vest and visor tops a hill with mountains in the background, Jack Kuenzle FKT Presidential TraverseJack Kuenzle; (photo/Fionaoutdoors.co.uk)
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Ultrarunner, FKT-grabber, and seemingly perpetually shirtless endurance athlete Jack Kuenzle has done it again.

The former Navy SEAL set a new FKT on New Hampshire’s Presidential Traverse, an iconic line across some of the gnarliest peaks the White Mountains have to offer. And since the weather on Mt. Washington is the worst in the world, that’s saying something.

Ultimately, the runner accomplished the traverse in 3 hours, 31 minutes, 54 seconds, shaving 6:50 off his previous FKT on the route in 2021. The website FKT has yet to verify the accomplishment.

“The most fun I’ve ever had while racing??” the athlete wrote in an Instagram caption posted today.

Kuenzle began with the route’s original start on Dolly Copp — one that he noted is 40 feet lower than the current official start. Then, he “Hit the Madison summit at the same time as my 2021 run and was able to chop 0:05:46 between there and Washington (0:57:30 in to ~2:20:00).”

After that, the runner struggled, having “definitely underestimated my 2021 effort.”

“The uphills were relatively slow but some of the downhills in the lower Presi were untouchable for me today,” he continued. “Just kinda bizarro, especially given it was literally raining all day.”

Like much of what Kuenzle does, this Presidential Traverse FKT is an impressive accomplishment, especially given that the runner currently resides in Virginia Beach and could only get in training sessions with vert on the weekends.

“I could only get up to the northeast [to train in mountains] every couple [of] weeks. I knew my uphills were the weakest last time, except for the initial climb which I did way too quickly,” the runner told GearJunkie in an interview.

But just like with his last FKT on the route, Kuenzle powered through his lack of mountain training and took advantage of some good weather to log a victory.

“This time felt really good and strong, and last time was like the hardest, most ridiculous effort of my life just to survive.”

A Long History of Crushing It: Jack Kuenzle Presidential Traverse FKT

Browsing Jack Kuenzle’s FKT page is not for the faint of heart. The runner has notched over 20 FKTs since 2019, many on the East Coast’s steep, root-covered terrain. Last year, Outside Magazine called him “one of the most gifted runners on the planet.” Don’t believe it? One of the records Kuenzle toppled in the last few years belonged to Killian Jornet.

A GearJunkie tip of the hat to Kuenzle and his team. Whatever Kuenzle tackles next, he told GearJunkie he doubts he can get much faster on the Presidential Traverse.

“I think that effort is as good as I can do it,” he admitted.

Time will tell.

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