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He Finished Legendary Trail in 'Mind-Boggling' Time

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2021 9:40 AM CDT
His Time for Legendary Trail Is 'Mind-Boggling'
A screen shot of Timothy Olson during his trek.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail is quite an accomplishment. As Outside notes, only about 20% who try are successful. Hiking the 2,655-mile trail in only one season? Amazing. Doing it in 51 days? "Mind-boggling," says an official with the PCT Association. In fact, it appears to be record-breaking. The details:

  • The mark: Endurance athlete Timothy Olson last week claimed a time of 51 days, 16 hours, and 55 minutes, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The 37-year-old wore a GPS tracker, and once his data is confirmed, he would eclipse the previous mark set by a Belgian athlete in 2016 by less than 24 hours. FKT (fastest known time) records for the PCT and other major routes are officially kept here.

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  • So fast: It typically takes five months for a hiker to finish the PCT, per IRunFar.com. Olson had to average more than 50 miles a day, often at high elevations. He wasn't so much hiking as running—from Mexico to Canada.
  • Complications: Wildfires in particular complicated the run this year. Some parts of the trail were closed, forcing Olson to backtrack. At one point, he was driven from one trailhead to beyond the section that was closed, but his GPS data is expected to show that he actually ended up running longer than the trail itself and thus would get the record.
  • Support team: Olson had a support team following him in two RV vehicles, though some parts of the trail were too isolated for that. They helped him with food and laundry, among other things. His wife, fellow athlete Krista Olson, who's eight months pregnant, was in that support team. Olson posted a photo of him and his wife just before his final stretch. "Every step of the way I have felt all of your positive vibrations and support—they're giving me so much strength and energy," he wrote. His wife previously had two miscarriages, and Olson raised money on his run for the support group Return to Zero: H.O.P.E.
  • Recuperating: "After 2,650 miles, he's shot and his body doesn't deal with cold well," mother-in-law Debbie Loomis tells the Chronicle. Father-in-law Bob Loomis added that Olson was battling lower-leg issues during the run.
(Read more Pacific Crest Trail stories.)

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