Ultimate Direction, the leading brand in hydration and wearable gear innovations, today announced the four winners of its 2017 Fastest Known Time Grant Project. The grant provides aspiring FKT athletes with financial aid and premium adventure gear. Each winner will receive $1,000 in support of their challenge, as well as all the gear they need from Ultimate Direction and grant partners La Sportiva and GU Energy Labs.
The response to the FKT Grants was incredible, with 315 people applying. That was narrowed down to 39 finalists and gave the experienced panel of judges very tough decisions to make. Focusing on the fundamental core qualities of FKTs such as creativity, vision, skill, and commitment, the following four winners were chosen:
Heather Anderson - Colorado Trail (Early September)
The proposed route will follow the well-established and challenging 500 mile Colorado Trail from end to end. Heather will aim to complete this route unsupported, receiving no assistance. The female supported record is very close in time to the men's unsupported record, and as Heather currently has the FKT for the Self-Supported Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Arizona Trail, she may be capable of besting both those records even while going Unsupported.
Andy Gohlich - Norman’s 13 (Mid-September)
Norman's 13 (AKA the Sierra Nevada 14er Link-Up) will connect all thirteen of the 14,000’ peaks in the California’s Sierra Nevada range in one push on foot, north-to-south, following the model of Colorado's Nolan's 14 challenge. This includes, ideally, aiming to complete the route within the Nolan's 14 60hr time window. This route has never been attempted before.
Samuel Jurek - Hut to Hut (June 30 – July 1)
The White Mountains Hut Traverse is an extremely rocky and rugged route connecting the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This route has a long and competitive history, with the FKT being set back in 1963. With 18,739’ of elevation gain in 52.2 miles, the goal of going under 12 hours will be very challenging.
David Anderson - Wind River Traverse (Early September)
This route will be to climb all of the 40 named peaks along the Continental Divide in the Wind River Range of Wyoming in one continuous push. The Wind River Range runs for 100 miles along the Continental Divide from South Pass to Union Pass in central Wyoming. Between these two points, no road crosses or even penetrates the crest and it is located entirely in Wilderness. While backpackers have hiked the Wind River High Route, no one has ever tried this spectacular and technical route on the high peaks.
“Picking just four winners was extremely difficult, as we received so many bold and creative FKT proposals,” stated Buzz Burrell, Brand Vice President of Ultimate Direction. “In the end the Panel decided on these four because they were so inspirational. All of us on the Award Panel became really excited to see how these turn out.”
“I'm so elated and excited. It's an honor to have these brands that I respect so much supporting me in achieving this Sierra 14er dream,” said grant winner Andy Gohlich. “I couldn't be happier, and can’t wait to get going.”
The concept of ‘FKT’ was created by renowned running adventurists Peter Bakwin and Ultimate Direction’s very own Brand Vice President, Buzz Burrell. Today, FKT is a term runners all over the world have come to understand and value as examples of creativity and arduous adventure.
About Ultimate Direction
In 1985 Ultimate Direction invented the first waist pack for carrying bottles. A few years later they designed the first hand-held water bottle carrier and numerous innovations defining the hydration pack category for endurance and every-day athletes. 30 years later the brand remains a market leader. Having created and popularized the “vest” concept for carrying water, they introduced the very first women’s-specific line of hydration packs, and have brought the classics of the past into the technical future with award-winning gear such as the Ultimate Direction Fastpack and Ultra Jacket. Ultimate Direction is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.