An FKT is a big deal. As readers of thetrek.co are aware, FKT stands for Fastest Known Time. And as I’m sure all readers of thetrek.co are aware (those that aren’t living under a rock), we are gunning for an FKT as the Fastest Known Time for a Family of Seven on the PCT, Supported. It’s kind of a big deal.
But as you might not be aware, there’s another FKT attempt going on, albeit one that’s getting far less awareness and is probably not nearly as big of a deal as ours. It’s a bit of a tiny endeavor, hardly deserving of the press, but I figured I’d mention it and give a guy his fifteen minutes of fame.
The Boring “General” FKT
There’s this little-known guy named Karel Sabbe. He runs. I know, it’s confusing he has a girl’s name, but think of it more as ‘Karl’ instead of Karol. It’s not his fault. Blame his parents. They’re Belgian. And so is he. Anywho, this fella Karel runs kinda fast and really far. When he’s not dentisting. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he’s a dentist as a side gig. Hey, everybody’s gotta hustle wherever they can these days, even if it’s fake-doctoring 😉 )
This year, Karel is aiming for the ‘General’ PCT FKT, obviously far less interesting than the ‘FKT for a Family of Seven, Supported.’ He’s merely attempting to become the fastest human to ever travel from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail on his own two legs. That’s cool, if you’re into that sort of thing. Seems a little unnatural to me tho.
In 2016, Karel decided to hike the PCT, and did so in 52 days. It was a record. Two years later, he hiked the AT in 41 days, beating the previous record by more than four days. He did a bunch of other stuff in America and around the world, but it was just going long distances quickly, faster than anybody else. Blah blah blah, you get the picture. It does, however, raise the question, Karel, why didn’t you just go faster back in 2016? Were you even trying, or were you just mailing it in? I hope you apply yourself a little more this year.
Karel is Underway
I mean, if you ask me, he’s hardly getting his money’s worth. Hike your own hike and all, but he’s not doing it right. Like take today, for example, I think he ran 60 miles. When you think about it, that’s barely two marathons. And he’s only been doing a little over two marathons a day for three weeks now. I mean, who couldn’t do that if they applied themselves? But is he taking in the views, stopping and smelling wildflowers, swimming in mountain tarns, changing my kid’s diapers? No. Well, he may actually be doing the first three things, but he hasn’t helped with a single diaper yet. Yesterday, I hiked 28.2 miles, and sang the same song 879 times to a toddler. Who really had it harder, Karel?
Kidding, Kidding. Relax, Dentists
Ok, so in case you haven’t realized, this is a little tongue-in-cheek. This Karel guy is real, and he’s some sort of supernatural superhero. Our entire family is fan-girling over him, myself included. We’ve been following him for weeks and we think our paths may cross in Northern California, if we’re fast. Southern Oregon, if we’re… well, if we’re us. (The fake-doctor thing is also tongue-in-cheek; put the tomatoes down, dentists of the world.)
It’s still maybe a couple weeks away, maybe just a week and a half. But I’m already trying to plan on what I’ll say to him as he whizzes by. I’ll only have a second. Can’t slow him down on his way. It needs to be something encouraging, profound, but not so profound as to distract him from his goal; something inspirational and memorable, so he will think about it later and credit me when he writes his book. Something like, ‘Great job, Karel! Keep it up! You can do it! I believe in you! Can you autograph my chest?’
But then I realize, Karel must surely know about us and our FKT attempt. I assume he’s passing his boring 60 miles/day thinking about what he will say to us when he sees us. How stressful that must be for him. The anticipation. I hope he doesn’t twist an ankle daydreaming of our impending encounter.
The Karel Crew
The other thing Karel has going for him, besides looking forward to meeting us, is a massive crew (three) of assistants getting him up the trail. They drive to trail crossings and shove calories in his face, massage his every tense and sinewy muscle, whisper sweet and soothing sounds into his ears, refill his bottles, wipe his keister and set him back on his way. In past strolls, he’s even had Klaus, his personal chef, accompanying him.
I don’t have a Klaus. I have a backpack bowling ball that lurches around and grabs at my ears and smacks my head with sticks and spits her yogurt on me, occasionally falling asleep before stirring again and screaming, ‘CACA!!!’ with a desperate urgency to con me into putting her on her toilet. I need a Klaus.
I think I’d make a brilliant support crew, after all, my trail name is ‘Spreadsheet’. But I guess that’s not really an option this year.
Trail Magic, Karel Crew? 🥴😁
I wonder what will happen when we cross the road where Karel’s support crew is stationed. I assume they’ll want to feed us. But it will be awkward when Karel arrives later to find a family of seven hungry locusts have devoured all his crew prepared. ‘Uh, sorry Karel. But they had this really cute baby with them. You understand. Just hike another 60 miles while we run out to the store.’
Anyway, here’s to awesome people doing awesome things. There are several other people trying to set various FKTs on the PCT this year. FKTs can be broken down by male, female, mixed, or groups and single, or supported, unsupported and self-supported. And obvi, the biggest category, Families of Seven, where the real records are set.
You can follow Karel and his crew on social media @karelsabbe_crew and @karelsabbe or at https://pct.karelsabbe.com/(but if you ask me, they really missed an opportunity to be the Karel Krew).
You can also read all about FKTs at https://fastestknowntime.com/
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