2017 UTMB Winner Sets New John Muir Trail Speed Record

Francois D’Haene set a new record of 2 days, 19 hours, and 26 minutes on the 210-mile John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada mountains on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.

John Muir Trail speed record
Francois D’Haene runs the John Muir Trail on his way to an FKT; all photos by Damien Rosso

If you thought that outrageous mountain running records were the sole domain of Kilian Jornet, then you need to think again.
Less than two months after his impressive victory at this year’s highly competitive UTMB, Frenchman Francois D’Haene established himself right at the top of the global ultrarunning scene with a new speed record for the John Muir Trail.

Francois D’Haene John Muir Trail FKT

To put D’Haene’s new FKT into perspective: It takes most hikers between two to four weeks to complete the 210-mile John Muir Trail. The route includes about 48,000 feet of elevation gain.

It took D’Haene less than three days.

The 31-year-old wine producer and elite trail runner ran across the Sierra Nevada north from Mount Whitney to Happy Isles in Yosemite. He smashed the previous record of 3 days, 7 hours, 36 minutes set in 2014 by American runner Leor Panitlat.

John Muir Trail FKT

At 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, D’Haene arrived in Yosemite Valley at the end of his record-breaking run surrounded by a support team. The group of close friends and family paced him over long sections and kept him refueled along the trail.

Francois D’Haene sets John Muir Trail record

The team spent months planning the attempt and developing gear capable of meeting its unique demands. From a lightweight sleeping bag-style cover that D’Haene could put on to keep warm during brief naps, to light-yet-stable resupply packs that enabled pacers to carry large amounts of water, D’Haene’s record required a meticulous team effort.

Francois D’Haene Muir Trail fkt

Over the course of the challenge, D’Haene rested for a total of just six hours. He wore a prototype version of the Salomon S/LAB Sense Ultra 2, the same shoe that he ran to victory in at this year’s UTMB in Chamonix. The Ultra 2 will be available in early 2018. He also wore Salomon S/LAB Modular apparel, S/LAB running jackets, and a S/LAB Sense running vest.

“The John Muir Trail truly is the adventure that we were looking for,” D’Haene wrote on his Facebook page. “A simply unbelievable trail in a truly wild place. A small, closely bonded team who faced everything with real feeling. I really found my form over this distance and tried to handle all the new parameters as best as I possibly could.”

Mission accomplished. Enjoy the rest, Francois.