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How to #FKT

by Robert Britton
Wednesday 1st October 2014
Tags  FKT   |   Robert Britton   |   inov-8   |   Team inov-8   |   Team Centurion

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team inov-8 and Team Centurion explains how to get your name into the record book with a fastest known time (#FKT)

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team inov-8 and Team Centurion explains how to get your name into the record book with a fastest known time (#FKT)

There's a popular hobby across the pond for US runners and if you haven't heard of #FKTing then how can you really call yourself an ultra runner?

How to #FKT. Find a trail and run along it as quickly as possible. If you run along it quicker than anyone has been known to before then you then have a #FKT. Easy right?

The States is full of loads of long distance trails that not many people have run along or, more importantly, no one knows how quickly people have run along them. Obviously a member of the indigenous population would not have put his effort on Strava so it wouldn't have really happened.

If you want to #FKT in the UK you come across one significant problem, the UK has a history and people have been running trails and fells for generations, compared to the US (The birthplace of trail ultra running by the way, just don't tell the Rucksack club) who only have been running in the hills since the creation of Strava a couple of years ago.

The UK's history is an issue because there has been solid athletes running all over the British Isles since the beginning of time and, during the last Ice Age, people like Billy Bland and Joss Naylor ran along every trail really, really quickly AND, this bit is key, they told people about it. They #FKT'd the hell out of British Trails.

The British actually used the "you have to tell people about it" rule to claim first ascents of mountains all over the world, where the local people had probably been popping over the top of Mont Blanc to go to the shops for generations, but they hadn't sent telegrams (old fashioned tweets) to tell everyone about it. Foolish really.

There is still a few ways to enjoy the huge self-importance and smugness of being a successful #FKTer within the historical competitiveness of the British Isles and a couple of ways beyond the confines of this beautiful set of islands.

Number one is to just keep running. Double it, then double it again and keep doubling the route until you are a) the fastest person to have done the Rim to Rim to Rim of Rotherham or b) Keep going until nobody else has been bothered to run that far and have the Quadruple Back to Back JOGLE #FKT. Both sensible options.

The second option is a little easier and this is why we chose this method to become successful #FKTers (ultra running is hard as it is, without chucking in REALLY tough extra-curriculum activities). For this method you just need to invent your own route.

Inventing your own route is simple, it can either be a Round (starting and finishing in the same place) or point to point #FKT with a funky name like Traverse or Challenge. Distance is irrelevant and the only key bit is that no one has run it before, has run it quickly before or they haven't told everyone about it.

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team inov-8 and Team Centurion explains how to get your name into the record book with a fastest known time (#FKT)

So was born the Keswick to Ambleside Coffee Shop Traverse (KtACST), from Maxwells, Keswick to Esquires, Ambleside over the Hellvelyn Range. A dangerous, vert-filled, gnar-fest of a route that obviously nobody would have run before, thus allowing a pair of Southerners and Northerner who has been softened by living in the South to become true #FKTers. Well at least, in our less than brief research, we could find no evidence of quicker known times, possibly because we didn't look.

If you're not confident your #FKT will stand the test of time then the best way to protect it is to introduce some strange conditions, that it must be done in teams of three, that it only counts on the third Monday of August or wait until a perfect, Summer like day in December and set a mid-Winter record. The latter is one I will be trying in future for sure, because doing stuff in freezing rain and mud is always great fun.

Having set your #FKT you must then post a picture of yourself looking nonchalant or completely shattered at the finish. Either make it look easy or scare everyone off by what an epic it must have been. This works better on an unknown route, such as a #FKT Traverse of a Norwegian Island. It may be tarmac the whole way but if you choose the right photos and it is impossible to get to, then you can really ham it up.

If you don't cover the distance quicker than other people have previously posted on Twitter/Strava/Facebook then do not be concerned. You must find a category that you were the first or fastest of (such as they do at Ironman events, sub-categorising until everyone has a podium place), such as first octogenarian/9 month old baby/vegan/blue eyed, ginger haired Mexican. If you cannot find a category then just do the route whilst juggling knives or carrying someone's wife.

Now just sit back and enjoy. You've made the big time and, like Rick, Paul and I have done with the KtACST #FKT, you can sit back and reap the rewards. Expect multiple female admirers, a significant boost in Twitter followers and sponsorship deals from Subway or a some shoe company. BIG TIME.

Until someone rides a push bike over the course and takes your #FKT. Then you have to find a new, easier one.


About The Author

Robert Britton

Robbie is a 100 mile runner who is a member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad and Team Centurion and likes to run ridiculous distances as quickly as possible.

To provide enough food to feed a monster running habit, Robbie coaches other ultra marathon runners through www.robbiebritton.co.uk and is also a member of the coaching team at Centurion Running. He likes to dabble with a bit of writing so that others can learn from his mistakes and enjoy the sport as much as he does.

Robbie is also a is a Profeet ambassador.


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is just part of the fun"


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