Karel Sabbe Appalachian Trail

FKTs of the Year: Karel Sabbe, Alyssa Godesky Take Top Honors for Record Times

Fastest known times by Karel Sabbe on the Appalachian Trail and Alyssa Godesky on the Vermont Long Trail won awards from FastestKnownTime.com in 2018.

It seems endurance athletes continuously push the boundaries of FKTs to unfathomable limits. Year after year, another surprise record pops up on the world’s most famous trails.

Alyssa Godesky FKT of the Year Vermont TrailThe governing body on FKTs, FastestKnownTime.com, just published its list of FKTs of the Year. Through a voting process, the website awarded five FKTs from each gender during the calendar year.

Alyssa Godesky and Karel Sabbe took home top honors for their efforts on the Vermont Long Trail and AT, respectively. FKT.com compiled a roster of 22 voters to make the list.

In August, Godesky ran the 273-mile Vermont Long Trail supported in 5 days, 2 hours, 37 minutes. And Sabbe broke the supported AT record by four days, setting an FKT at 41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes.

FKTs Celebrated in 2018

FastestKnownTime.com’s list displays how incredible 2018 was for endurance events.

Karel Sabbe FKT of the Year Appalachian TrailTaylor Nowlin and Aurelien Sanchez won second-place honors. Nowlin ran the 43-mile Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (R2R2R) in the Grand Canyon in 7 hours, 25 minutes, 58 seconds.

Sanchez, meanwhile, completed the 223-mile John Muir Trail in California in 3 days, 3 hours, 55 minutes, 10 seconds. One voter pointed to Sanchez’s near-sleepless pursuit, which Sanchez himself reflected on at mile 187:

“Exhaustion is coming, and the trail starts to personify himself. He became an old wizard with a long white beard, taking the name of Sir Donohue. He is making everything for me to fail and to slow me down, being never-ending, steep, technical … I start to hate him so much.”

FKT.com awarded the No. 3 spot to Joe Grant and Candice Burt. Grant completed Nolan’s 14, an 80-mile route that links 14 consecutive 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado, in 2 days, 1 hour, 38 minutes. Burt ran the Wonderland Trail that circumnavigates Mt. Rainier in Washington in 1 day, 4 hours, 45 minutes, 31 seconds.

Alex Nichols Nolan's 14
1 Day, 2 FKTs: Runners Make History on Brutal 'Nolan's 14'
Run 80 miles over 14 peaks more than 14,000-feet tall each. That's Nolan's 14. And on the same day, Coloradans Alex Nichols and Joe Grant set supported and unsupported records on the gnarly challenge. Read more…

Andrew Hamilton won fourth place for summiting all of Colorado’s 14ers in winter in 85 days, 15 hours, 37 Minutes. Annie Weiss also won fourth for her effort on the Ice Age Trail. She ran the 1,200-mile route in 21 days, 18 hours, 7 minutes.

Lastly, Clare Gallagher and Nate Bender won fifth-place honors. Gallagher completed the Trans-Zion traverse, running east to west across Zion National Park’s 48-mile trail in 8 hours, 1 minute, 24 seconds.

For his part, Bender summited all 27 12,000-foot mountains in Montana. He scrambled from mountain to mountain, totaling 100 miles in 4 days, 6 hours, 44 minutes, 19 seconds.

The list highlights some of the most impressive outdoor accomplishments of 2018. While the list seems unfathomable, something tells me we may even see more impressive FKTs in 2019. Congratulations go out to all of the winners — and those that attempt their own FKTs!

Nate Mitka

Midwest born, Nate Mitka is based in the GearJunkie Denver office. He is an advocate of all outdoor activities and has developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.