Pursuing a John Muir Trail FKT with Boulder ultrarunner Abby Hall

In 4 days, 11 hours, Abby coursed the 223-mile trail as fast as she could

By Paul Hagey Sep 13 2020

The peaks loomed like ghosts above Boulder ultrarunner Abby Hall as she navigated the meandering passes of the California Sierra mountains, in some cases at night, along the 223-mile John Muir Trail.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, she completed her attempt of a women’s fastest known time (FKT) unsupported northern route along the John Muir Trail. For four days, 11 hours she only ate what she carried, filtered water from creeks and rivers and didn’t meet up with anyone she knew — unsupported, totally self-sufficient, simple.

Abby’s route.

Close to Yosemite Valley, near the end of her trek, which began several days before at the trail’s beginning at Whitney Portal, Abby passed famous 1000 Island Lake, the water reflecting the moonlight, the night dead quiet, the often busy summer trail empty.

This gentle moment differed from Abby’s first attempt at the trail in April 2016, which she calls an “epic fail.” She bailed on the first day; as she points out, completing an FKT, especially unsupported, requires more than stamina and strength — it requires mental preparation, adaptation and resiliency.

In this podcast episode, we speak with Abby about her FKT attempt, why she chooses to pursue FKTs, the experience of being a professional ultrarunner in Boulder and more. Enjoy.

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Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter. paul@bldrfly.com