Just last year about this time, I wrote about how I suspect yet another high-profile FKT attempt will be made in 2016. And the usual yammering will be done about how a FKT is not “true to the spirit of the trail” or “how it is an amazing athletic achievement”.
I was correct.
A well-known ultra-runner broke the record. And received some mainstream press. And the same chorus as last year was sung. Can’t wait for 2017… 😉
A year later, I still have the same reaction: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I rejoiced this past winter when the Broncos were in the Superbowl because it meant no traffic…
Growing up, we spent Sundays around our grandparents’ kitchen table and I honestly can’t remember watching any sportsball event there…
And next Sunday when I am off my electronic leash I hope to enjoy my favorite season with some sort of outdoor jaunt.
I can appreciate, and even admire, the athletic achievement. But it has as much to do with my interest in the outdoors as a so-called “reality cooking show” has to do with Grandma Magnanti’s Sunday dinners: A superficial resemblance but nothing like how I experience or enjoy something.
That’s not to say FKTs are wrong or incorrect. I just find them uninteresting , boring even. Meh.
Then again, there is a reason why Baskin Robbins sells 31 flavors. It would be a boring world if we all liked chocolate ice cream only. (A good pistachio is my personal favorite.. 🙂 )
But FKTs, and the modest internet fame and possible money it directly or indirectly generates, are gaining popularity.
More people are writing on various FKT sites to declare their attempts. The very informal grassroots nature of these attempts is becoming more formal. And people will be coming out of the woodwork.
All kinds of people apparently.
The quick version of this latest act is that an unknown hiker/runner allegedly beat both the traditional thru-hiker record AND the supported record by quite a bit. But with no verification, possible holes in her stories and other possible evidence of some potential shenanigans.
This hiker/runner may very well become the Rosie Ruiz of FKTs. Or not.
So what does this all mean?
- The informal and grass-roots nature of the FKT community erodes even more. A SPOT or GPS device will become mandatory to validate all attempts and the information will have to be made public on some level.
- Though there is a modest amount of fame/money to be made on these FKTs, it is there. The Boston Marathon did not award money until 1986. We are just starting to see the money aspect (again, admittedly modest) becoming a part of the FKT scene. And a FKT certainly helps a person gain “cred” to get sponsored even if there is no money involved initially. See above about more verification being needed.
- The latest act shows a lot if interest in these FKTs. Call it an outcome of social media, but FKT attempts have become akin to the Sunday football games most people watch : A spectator sport to pass the time and something that holds interest.
- For most people? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Nothing, really. Some parks or other areas may get stricter about allowing organized FKT crews or similar on their lands. And permits or similar for support crews depending on how large the crews may be. Otherwise? Well, it is not just curmudgeonly guys in Colorado who would rather do their own thing than read about someone doing theirs… 😉
I have a good feeling, however, something else will happen in 2017. And 2018. And 2019. And so on.