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2023 Women’s FKT Of the Year Nominations

by | Dec 15, 2023 | News

We’ve seen another year of incredible FKTs set by women around the world. Every year the FKT website chooses a few FKTs to honor as FKT Of The Year. Community members nominate FKTs for the honor. Next  a voting process whittles the list to the top 5 male and female FKTs.These performances represent athletic achievements that inspire us to push our limits and learn more about what we are capable of when we set our mind to it. We were especially impressed to see that 16 of the female nominees, and 10 of the male nominees, were nominated for the first FKT that they ever set. 

Congratulations to all nominees! Being included in this list, regardless of outcome, is brag worthy. The top five performances will be announced during the first week of January.

We wrote short recaps of each female FKT to call attention to noteworthy features that the voters will use in their decisions. Asterisks around the names note first time FKT setters .

 

 

*Andrea LarsonSuperior Hiking Trail

This 300+ mile trail along the shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota is known for its ruggedness. Larson’s unsupported FKT (her first FKT) shaved nearly 21 hours from the previous record and three hours from the supported time.

 

*Callie Vinson*Maricopa Loop (AZ)

The Maricopa Loop is a 240 mile loop around Phoenix, Arizona. Vinson’s supported FKT (also her first FKT) took 6 hours off the previous FKT, which was also set in 2023.

 

Chantal DemersBruce Trail, Caledon Hills Section (ON, Canada)

This section of the Bruce Trail is 68.6 km (42.5 miles) long; the total Bruce Trail is 890 km (551 miles). It was part of Demers’ larger project to set FKTs on each section of the Bruce Trail this year, which she finished in September of this year. She took 2 1/2 hours off the previous women’s time in this section, and at the time of setting it, she was just six minutes behind the overall FKT.

 

*Christie Lori*Cape to Cape

This 130 km (80.6 miles) walking trail on Australia’s west coast is an unrelenting sandy challenge. Lori’s supported FKT (her first)  took 15 minutes off the previous women’s time.

 

*Claire Bannwarth*Colorado Trail

The 500 mile Colorado Trail is one of the premiere FKT routes – a high visibility route that sees many attempts each year. Bannwarth’s first FKT ever was on the West to East, Collegiate East variation, and her self-supported, 9 day, 2 hour finishing time five hours faster than the self-supported men’s time. She was also six days faster than the supported women’s time for this variation.

 

*Elise Levesque*Mt Rainier (sea to summit)

This FKT variation of the Rainier summit involves 75 miles of biking plus the 7.8 mile climb to the summit of Rainier. Levesque’s first FKT was to establish the first women’s time on this route, completing the 82 mile journey in 19 hours, 11 minutes.

 

*Eszter Horanyi*Nolan’s 14 (CO)

The Nolan’s 14 is another premiere route with 100 miles of travel and over 44,000 feet of climbing. Its technical nature and navigational challenge, in addition to the altitude, makes it additionally tough. It was first ever Horanyi’s FKT, and she still managed to improve on the times set by multiple fast women over the years, shaving 39 minutes off the self supported women’s record.

 

Fernanda MacielMount Vinson

This climb on Mt Vinson in Antarctica (its highest peak) is 35 km (21.7 miles) and 3,050 meters (9100 feet) of climbing in cold conditions. Maciel created the FKT route and set the first ever time on it this year. Her 9 hour, 41 minute time will be difficult for anyone to best.

 

*Haneul Lee*John Muir Trail via Whitney Portal (CA)

The JMT is a well known route through the Sierras, and as a premiere route, it is a highly visible achievement. Lee’s first FKT was on the north to south variation, where she shaved 28 hours from the previous unsupported time.

 

Heather AndersonWashington PCT

This section of the PCT is 431 miles long, and Anderson’s unsupported FKT was four hours faster than the men’s time (and the first posted women’s unsupported time). Her southbound route meant that her backpack was fully loaded for the 30 mile approach to the trail as well (tiring her without being a part of the effort). Unsupported efforts of this length entail heavy pack weights and very careful planning making it all the more impressive. Though Anderson is no stranger to careful planning as she has held the women’s record for the full PCT (northbound, self-supported) for a decade now.

 

Hillary GirardiMont Blanc

Another technical summit, the Mont Blanc FKT in France’s Alps is a 32.6 km (20.2 mi) route with 3,877 m (11,631 feet) of climbing. Attempting this FKT requires incredible fitness and mountaineering skills. Girardi ascended from Chamonix following the Arête nord (or North Ridge) route for safety reasons, and then followed the regular La Petite Plateau route down. She shaved 26 minutes from the women’s time. Climate change has made this route even more difficult, with very few suitable weather and condition windows available any given year. Because Girardi lives in Chamonix, she was able to patiently wait for a weather window and go for this FKT.

Ida-Sophie HegemannDer Karwendel Höhenweg

One of Austria’s high routes, the Karwendel Höhenweg is a 61 km (37.8 mi) route with 3,500 m (10,500 feet) of climbing over technical terrain that is often covered in snow. Hegemann’s FKT was the first women’s FKT on the route in a region where fewer women set FKTs.

 

Jade BelzbergJoshua Tree Traverse (CA)

This desert route is 36.9 miles long with 3,300 feet of climbing and no water to be found. This traverse has been hotly contested in recent years, and Belzberg’s new supported FKT, which dropped the record by a scant two minutes, is a testament to just how high the standards are there now.

 

Jenny Abegg, Sarah HartMt Tantalus Traverse (BC, Canada)

This technical traverse requires class 4 climbing skills as it travels 26.3 miles and ascends 11,506 feet across Tantalus. Abegg and Hart already held the women’s FKT for this route; they shaved one hour, 59 minutes off their previous time and demonstrated their expertise on this gnarly route.
 

Jenny HoffmanTransCon US

This 3,067 mile route across the US is an open course, but it begins at the City Hall in San Francisco and ends at the New York City Hall. Hoffman took seven days and four hours off of the previous women’s FKT on this monstrous road route.

 

*Jessica Pekari*Pacific Crest Trail

The PCT is a 2,650 mile trail with 400,000 feet of elevation gain running north to south along the mountain ranges of the west coast. One of three new PCT FKTs this year, Pekari’s north to south attempt was the first women’s FKT for this variation. She set a new self-supported FKT (her first) of 63 days and 7 hours, which was 28 hours faster than the prior overall FKT.

 

*Justine Flett*South West Coast Path (United Kingdom)

This 630 mile walking path with 111,000 feet of elevation gain along the coast of England has seen increasing FKT activity in recent years. Flett’s supported FKT (her first) shaved off one day and 23 hours from the previous women’s time.

 

*Katharina Hartmuth*Stubaier Höhenweg

Another high route in Austria, the Stubaier Höhenweg is a 78 km (48.4 mi) course with 5,730 m (17,190 feet) of elevation gain. This technical route crosses glaciers, snow fields and requires scrambles. Hartmuth’s unsupported FKT (her first) was one hour and 33 minutes faster than the self-supported women’s FKT and five hours 24 minutes  faster than the men’s unsupported time.

 

Kim
Levinsky
Long Path (NY)

This 358 mile trail between New York City and Albany, NY has 68,000 feet of climbing along its varied terrain. Levinsky’s supported FKT is the first recorded women’s FKT on this route, and she set the record during record-breaking rain and flooding.

 

Liz DerstineVia Alpina (Switzerland)

This long distance route in the Swiss Alps is 390 km (241.8 mi) long with 23,500 m (70,500 feet) of climbing. Derstine’s FKT shaved one day and six hours off the previous women’s FKT on this challenging route.

 

*Lizzie Richardson*Paddy Buckley Round

The Paddy Buckley Round in Wales is a 104.9 km (65 mi) fell running challenge with over 28,000 feet of elevation gain. The previous women’s record was considered nearly untouchable, but Richardson took a whopping one hour, 22 minutes off the previous time while setting her first FKT.

 

*Mandy Foyster*JOGLE / LEJOG (UK)

 LEJOG, or Land’s End to John O’Groats, is an 826 mile south to north traverse of the UK. Foyster’s FKT is the first self-supported FKT for men or women. At 57, Foyster is the oldest women’s nominee.

 

Marcy
Beard
Hole to Hump (AZ)

This 68.8 mile route with 10,800 feet of climbing starts at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and climbs, climbs, climbs, to the summit of Arizona’s highest point, Mt Humphrey’s. Beard’s supported FKT took 44 minutes off the previous women’s record.

 

*Miranda Pridgen*Florida Trail

 This 1500 mile trail features just 10,000 feet of climbing but it makes up for the lack of elevation gain with swampy trail and suffocating humidity. Pridgen’s self supported FKT (her first) shaved seven days and 17 hours from the previous women’s time.

 

*Nina Bridges*Colorado Trail

A second women’s FKT on the Colorado Trail, this time on the East to West, Collegiate East variation. The FKT she beat was set less than a month earlier by Tara Dower. Dower and Bridges are the only women to have ever done the Colorado Trail in less than 9 days.. Bridges bested the latest women’s supported FKT – already a record 20 years in the making – by seven hours, and she was just 47 minutes slower than the overall FKT. This was her first FKT.

 

*Oihana Kortazar*Ruta 0-4-0, Pico de Teide (Canary Islands, Spain)

 The Ruta 0-4-0 is a summit of Pico de Teide of 58 km (35.9 mi) and 4,000 m (12,000 feet) of elevation gain. Kortazar bested the already very fast women’s supported time by 25 minutes in her first FKT. This FKT was technically set in 2022, but on 12/3/2022, after the nominations for the year had closed.

 

*Sophie Littlefair*Scottish National Trail (United Kingdom)

At 864 km (535.7 mi) and 19,138 m (57,414 ft) of elevation gain, this collection of trails includes serious water crossings and navigational hazards in the highlands. Littlefair’s FKT, her first, was not only the first posted women’s time, it lowered the overall FKT by one day and 23 hours.

 

Sunny
Stroeer
Grand Canyon R2R2R-alt (AZ)

The more famous Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim may get more attention, but this alternate route on the South & North Bass trailheads is its more rugged twin. At 42.7 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation gain it’s about a mile shorter than a standard R2R2R, but with 2,000 feet more elevation gain and no bridge across the Colorado River, so you have to swim. Stroeer had set the previous women’s unsupported FKT with a team of two other women. This year, she not only took two hours and 17 minutes off her own previous time, but this time did it solo.

 

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