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  1. #1
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    Default John Andersen AT through Shenandoah National Park

    It's been quiet here so here's something to follow for the next day: https://www.strava.com/beacon/j8wrW23jcEh
    Posted by John Andersen on https://fastestknowntime.com/route/t...tional-park-va :
    I will be attempting a supported FKT of the AT through SNP on Friday October 18th, 2019 at 6:00pm. I will be starting at the AT trailhead parking on 522 in Front Royal and finishing at Rockfish Gap at the map/kiosk/parking area on the AT immediately south of the I-64 bridge. This route is 107.8 miles. I have 3 goals for this attempt:
    1) Establish a "standard route" from 522 in the north to Rockfish Gap in the south. Regarding Rockfish Gap in the south, the AT leaves and reenters the SNP boundary several times between Jarmans Gap and Rockfish Gap, leaving Rockfish Gap as an obvious choice for a "complete" route through SNP. The kiosk just south of the I-64 bridge is a natural start/end point. Regarding 522 in the north, the AT officially leaves the SNP boundary at Possom's Rest Overlook, at which there is no parking or nearby road, it is just a spot on the AT. Someone starting or finishing their route would have to hike to/from this spot from either 522 or from the Compton Gap trail, so why not carry on north from this point a few miles through AT conservation land to the 522 trailhead so all northbound and southbound attempts have a consistent start/end point.
    2) Matt Kirk's time of 23:20 is from Jarmans Gap to 522, 99.1 miles. Although I intend to go further, I aim to beat Matt's time to Jarmans Gap before any claim of an FKT is made.
    3) Establish a record for most miles covered on the AT in 24 hours. Matt's 99.1 miles is currently the record as far as anyone seems to know. Although Matt did those miles in one calendar day, starting at midnight, I am simply going for "most AT miles/24 consecutive hours" and the pundits can establish the merits and faults of each
    I will be crewed by Michael Dubova, Michelle Andersen, and David Horton and will record the attempt on my Suunto 9 GPS watch as well as on my phone using Strava Beacon. I will post a Strava Beacon file on my personal FB page tomorrow at the start, https://www.facebook.com/JohnAndersenCrozetVA. Happy Trails everyone, so excited to spend a day in my favorite park on my favorite trail!
    Good luck to John! Here's a data sheet with some checkpoints to watch on the feed:
    Mile | 4.492 | 4.243 mph
    000.0 18:00 | 18:00 US522
    019.1 22:15 | 22:30 Elkwallow Gap
    027.7 00:10 | 00:30 US211
    046.2 04:17 | 04:53 Big Meadows
    062.3 07:52 | 08:41 US33
    079.7 11:44 | 12:47 Loft Mtn
    099.0 16:00 | 17:20 Jarman
    107.8 18:00 | 19:24 Rockfish
    Last edited by matthew.d.kirk; 10-20-2019 at 13:29.

  2. #2

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    Yo!! That’s not the same as yours!

  3. #3

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    It is a gorgeous day to be out there!!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chknfngrs View Post
    Yo!! That’s not the same as yours!
    Haha, I joked with a buddy that I feel bad that it's taken him two calendar days to do what only took me one

    But seriously, big congrats to John for such a solid run. He passed Jarmans just before 4 pm beating my time by almost 1.5 hour (assuming 6 pm start) and is still right on pace to Rockfish in 24 hours. Solid.

  5. #5

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    Wow to the wow

  6. #6

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    I find these inspiring, impressive, and motivational.

    I looked at his (John's) Stava link and it stops a bit shy of Rockfish Gap, around 17 hours ago now. Did he finish his run? and did he set the new FKT?
    Also clicked on the FB link and it goes to a, Page not Available/Page not Found.

    willin'

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by u.w. View Post
    I find these inspiring, impressive, and motivational.

    I looked at his (John's) Stava link and it stops a bit shy of Rockfish Gap, around 17 hours ago now. Did he finish his run? and did he set the new FKT?
    Also clicked on the FB link and it goes to a, Page not Available/Page not Found.

    willin'
    We're not sure why the tracker stopped. His crew overnight said there were long gaps at night too. It relies on a cell phone signal, but I was at the finish (kiosk/parking lot immediately south of the I-64 bridge) and had a signal so it should have caught up. He had some kind of charger to keep it charged up.

    Anyway, yes, he did finish. I witnessed him coming off the single track onto Skyline Dr south of the pay station entrance for cars, and run the last ~200 yards to the finish. He had crew throughout the run at various road crossings, and a friend who ran with him the last 30 or 40 miles so there are witnesses for the whole thing.

    His strava is at https://www.strava.com/activities/2803437217 . I think that's what he intended to be his proof since he knew the tracker would be offline at times.

    John was pretty spent at the end, and he said that's as bad as he's felt in a run, but I've seen others in worse shape. Said that his mother-in-law's (or her mother's) Brunswick stew revived him at one tough point when he considered dropping or at least giving up the FKT quest. Really good weather, mostly in the 40s, with an inversion at night so the mountains didn't get the freeze that the valley did.

    It was an impressive run. John has run a few 100s, and manages to work in training around his family, work as a veterinarian, owner of a running store (his wife manages but he spends time there too), race directing, and being on the board of our trail running club.

  8. #8

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    btw the name is spelled John Andersen, not Anderson.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailRunnerGuy View Post
    Yes, he did finish. I witnessed him coming off the single track onto Skyline Dr south of the pay station entrance for cars, and run the last ~200 yards to the finish. He had crew throughout the run at various road crossings, and a friend who ran with him the last 30 or 40 miles so there are witnesses for the whole thing.

    His strava is at https://www.strava.com/activities/2803437217 . I think that's what he intended to be his proof since he knew the tracker would be offline at times.

    John was pretty spent at the end, and he said that's as bad as he's felt in a run, but I've seen others in worse shape. Said that his mother-in-law's (or her mother's) Brunswick stew revived him at one tough point when he considered dropping or at least giving up the FKT quest. Really good weather, mostly in the 40s, with an inversion at night so the mountains didn't get the freeze that the valley did.

    It was an impressive run. John has run a few 100s, and manages to work in training around his family, work as a veterinarian, owner of a running store (his wife manages but he spends time there too), race directing, and being on the board of our trail running club.

    btw the name is spelled John Andersen -not- Anderson.
    Ah HellzYah! Good to hear for sure, and very, very impressive! Thank you TrailrunnerGuy,

    willin'

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the heads up on the spelling. Corrected. Congrats to John!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthew.d.kirk View Post
    Thanks for the heads up on the spelling. Corrected. Congrats to John!
    I'm sure he's used to it!

    I thought I added a word of respect to you, Matt, for starting this thread on his attempt on your record but I guess I lost it before posting. Classy move on your part.

  12. #12

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    I too thought I'd said "thank you" in my initial post, to Matt for posting this up here. Looking back I see that I sure did not, and I apologize as I did mean to.
    Thank you Matt for posting this up. I very much like seeing the FKTs, and the people who do them are very impressive, to me. Also agree on the "classy move". That's one of the things I find to be pretty normal, or common, in the FKT, ultra running crowd. Thank you,

    willin'

  13. #13
    Ounces are the little-death
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    Matt, was yours supported?

  14. #14

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    I’ll chime in and say “yes” based on his trip report (Cornucopia Mobile)

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottS View Post
    Matt, was yours supported?

  15. #15
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    You're quite welcome on the post. John's effort was a lot of fun to watch. It's also very inspirational to me. I've contemplated trying this again in 2024. I'll be twenty years older than when I did it supported in 2004. However, I'll be the same age as John is now, so age is no excuse!

  16. #16
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    Thanks Matt and thanks everyone. This was such an awesome adventure. Finished the 107.8 miles from 522 in Front Royal to Rockfish Gap in 23:48:59.
    This was my 7th "hundred miler" with the other 6 being actual races, all of which I have raced hard, and this was by far the toughest. Yes the extra 7.8 miles were crushing, but man, the AT is relentless in its ruggedness and its climbs. This really made me respect through hikers even more, not that I didn't before. As I continued to meet monster climb after monster climb I thought "dang, this is what through hikers do for an entire summer with a huge pack on their backs!"
    Finishing in the South District/Rockfish Gap was special. Its essentially where I was forged as a trail runner and mountain lover. Running those last 20 miles was so tough, but filled with years of memories of sharing those parts of the AT with different friends and adventures.
    I'll do a bigger write up soon, but just wanted to say thanks again to Matt Kirk for setting the bar and thanks to anyone and everyone who does trail maintenance on the AT.
    -John

  17. #17
    Ounces are the little-death
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    Looking at your Strava, it doesn't really seem like any of the races in the area compare. It's way too choppy for Grindstone, Massanutten or Uwharrie. Going through races, Superior looks like the closest but with 6000 less climbing.

  18. #18
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    Just thought I would add here that starting yesterday and ending today, Dan Fogg beat my time and ran 23:24! He ran northbound from Rockfish Gap to 522, and I'll be curious to compare notes on NOBO vs SOBO. Anyway, he had an incredible performance - we coincidentally had planned for these two weekends months ago, cheers to Dan!

  19. #19
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    It sort of makes sense that northbound could be a bit faster, simply in that the northern endpoint is listed at 950' while the southern one is listed as 1902' (at least in the 2006 book I have to look at - and there isn't much overall change in that section of trail in 13 years, as it then listed the whole section as 107.1 vs. the current 107.8 miles, and the change is apparently only south of Jarman as the rest of the numbers match exactly).

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnAndersen View Post
    Just thought I would add here that starting yesterday and ending today, Dan Fogg beat my time and ran 23:24! He ran northbound from Rockfish Gap to 522, and I'll be curious to compare notes on NOBO vs SOBO. Anyway, he had an incredible performance - we coincidentally had planned for these two weekends months ago, cheers to Dan!
    Holy cow. WOW! HUGE Congrats to Dan!! Thanks for posting that up John,
    And super AMAZING performances from both of you for sure.

    willin'

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