New Blazing Record on the Tahoe Rim Trail, CA

Spencer Cox | BackcountryBackcountry
tahoe rim trail
Kyle cruising on the beautiful Tahoe Rim Trail. Photo Credit: Luis Escobar

The Tahoe Rim Trail has just seen yet another legendary feat of ultra-running speed and endurance. On Friday, July 3, Colorado native, Kyle Curtin set off with an ambitious goal – to set a new fastest known time (FKT) on the fabled Tahoe Rim Trail – without any support. Located in the Sierra Nevada of California and Nevada, the Rim Trail features 171-miles of technical, rugged terrain and over 30,000 feet of elevation gain (more than the 28,028-feet of Everest). This loop circumnavigates Lake Tahoe while hitting major peaks along the way.

Lake Tahoe
A map of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Photo Credit: Fastest Known Time

Curtin set off on his jaunt at 6 a.m. on Friday morning leaving from Echo Summit. If all went according to plan, Curtin would finish this epic run around sunset the following day. Because Curtin opted to attempt this FKT unsupported, it meant that he had to carry all of his own food, water, and other necessary gear. Curtin loaded his running pack with 10,000 calories worth of food and a water filter so that he could hydrate from streams during his run. Typically long runs like this are supported, meaning that the athlete is assisted by friends and family who help the athlete pace and set up aid stations throughout the course.

A few extra layers, a water filter, and 10,000 calories worth of food- all necessary for an unsupported FKT attempt. Photo Credit: Kyle Curtin

For most of the run, things were going well… until Curtin hit mile 93. Due to an unfortunate error in judging how much water was needed, Curtin was forced to run a 36 mile stretch of trail without any hydration. Despite the setback, Kyle Curtin pushed on with a tremendous display of determination and willpower. He ultimately completed the brutal 171-mile loop with a time of 41 hours and 9 minutes. To view more in-depth stats of his attempt, check out Kyle’s Strava profile.

Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo Credit: Luis Escobar

Curtin’s hard effort was not enough to beat the overall FKT, which is held by Kilian Jornet who broke the record in 2009 with a supported attempt. However, Curtin did successfully break the record for the fastest unsupported time by 13 hours and achieved the second-fastest time overall. This FKT is currently being verified by and should be made official within the next couple of days. Regardless, the mere completion of the Tahoe Rim Trail is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. And the fact that this effort was completed unsupported in record time is absolutely nutty! Big props to Kyle Curtin for this massive FKT.

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