A new level of insane mountain athleticism has been achieved. Former World Mountain Running champion, Max King, has set a new fastest known time (FKT) on Mt. Shasta. King commenced his run in the town of Mt. Shasta, proceeded up the historic Sisson trail, hit the summit at 14,180 feet, and then turned around and ran back to town. This epic effort included 10,400 feet of vertical gain and a distance of 21.9 miles roundtrip. King ultimately completed this heinous mountain run with a time of 5:29:55.
Mt. Shasta, which is located in Northern California, is one of twelve 14,000 foot peaks in the state. It is a popular destination for ski mountaineers and alpinists and is often climbed over the course of two days. Single-day ascents of this behemoth are physically difficult, but not uncommon as well.
There are a number of factors that make King’s FKT pretty darn impressive. The first of which is the sheer amount of vertical gain that King ascended to reach the summit. 10,000 feet of climbing is A LOT. Even the famous Pike’s Peak Marathon in Colorado contains less vertical gain than what King accomplished.
Secondly, the high-altitude of this ascent is not something to be overlooked. Running at altitude is already difficult for the majority of runners out there, but running at 14,000 feet encompasses a whole new level of suffering. Those who have experienced being at or close to 14,000 feet will certainly understand.
Lastly, and perhaps most impressively, is that the day prior to King’s FKT, King and his friends summitted Mt. Shasta twice in the same day just for fun. With these factors in mind, us mere mortals can only begin to fathom the difficulty of this grand feat of endurance.
With lots of time to bag summits, who knows what King will accomplish before the season’s end. One glance at his Stava profile and it is safe to say, the dude gets after it. When not running, King oversees and operates a youth trail running camp where he teaches stewardship, conservation, and shows kids why trail running is so freakin’ cool. To learn more, check out: http://www.maxkingtrc.com/