Boulder’s Skyline Traverse gets a new FKT

Colorado Springs professional trail runner Joseph Gray scaled Boulder’s five peaks in a ‘known’ record time of 2:32

By Paul Hagey Oct 1 2020

The legend of the Fastest Known Time (FKT) looms large in Boulder. With the various tracking apps widely available now, such as Strava, it’s possible to record and verify times for well-known routes of running, biking, kayaking, climbing — pretty any activity in any combination.

Sounds vague, and in some cases it is, but some routes have become famous locally and the 17.3-mile Skyline Traverse — the route that crosses Boulder’s five peaks of South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff and Mount Sanitas — has become a coveted one among local athletes.

Joseph Gray

Well Boulder got a visit from Colorado Springs-based professional trailrunner Joseph Gray on Tuesday, September 22, with a recorded time of 2 hours, 32 minutes and 40 seconds. He recorded as a supported run as his friend ran with him.

Joe’s time was the best of the three categories of runs supported, self-supported and unsupported. He says he’s not sure of the definitions and runners self-identify.

The Skyline Traverse Route.

A member of the U.S. Men’s Mountain Running Team, Joe’s a multiple-time gold medalist at the World Mountain Running Championships, which he won in 2019. Mountain running is different from trailrunning, it’s less about endurance and more of a faster burn over 10 to 15 or so miles instead of a 100 miles or more in ultrarunning.

Joe says he went for the FKT on a whim — he had never done the traverse before. He was planning just to run South Boulder peak, but he felt good, and good-natured goading from a friend who said he couldn’t break 2:40 on the route, spurred him on. A friend helped guide him, which came in handy on the first mile off Bear Peak and the maze coming down off Flagstaff.

Joe beat the previous Skyline Traverse FKT by approximately six minutes, a time set by Seth DeMoor just two days before Joe completed his.

The route may see more heat as the international Golden Trail Series designated it as one of its U.S. Golden Ticket routes, meaning that the man and woman who records the fastest time on the route in a designated period wins a Golden Ticket, which gives them free entry to the Golden Trail race in the Azores in Portugal, airfare, accommodations and meals.

Stay tuned for an uptick in FKTs on the Skyline Traverse :).

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.