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  1. #1

    Default Karel Sabbe supported attempt

    Starting in two weeks willing to bet it’ll be fun to watch

  2. #2

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    Here's his declaration post on FKT.com

    Hi all, I'm now about one week before starting my speed record attempt on the A.T. and as it's getting really busy with last-hand preparations I'm announcing it officially here now.

    I'm Karel Sabbe from Belgium and I'm a 28 year old hiker / ultrarunner. I learned a lot about running a long-distance hiking trail by setting the F.K.T. on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016, which is why I take on this new challenge and why I believe there's a possibility that I'll make it. I also have long-distance hiking experience from hiking New Zealands Te Araroa Trail, the Pyrenean High Route, the Sierra High Route, Corsica's GR-20, .. I also ran the Marathon des Sables in 2016 during which I learned a lot about running in heat and how to hydrate in those conditions.

    My friend and brother-in-law Joren Biebuyck will be there to support me all the way again (he's a physiotherapist which is very helpful during this record attempt) and he also has a lot of crewing experience from being there the entire PCT which is way more remote and harder to access for crews.

    In addition I'm having some friends coming over to run sections with me (of 1-3 weeks), and my wife Emma will be there during the entire month of August.

    I'm going for the overall record set by Joe McConaughy last year, and I've been in touch with him a lot discussing my record attempt. He'll probably join us for a weekend as well which would be awesome. Jennifer Pharr Davis, Scott and Karl have all been really helpful as well with advice - that is one of the nice things about this FKT community.

    Like my PCT run I will also verify this record as a Guinness World Record attempt, because it is nice to go for an official world record and to have a neutral and professional instance analyze all my data and claims. After my PCT run they asked very detailed questions like "Why were you running at 40mph on day 29 in the evening?" (I forgot to switch off my Strava and was in the car to go to a pizza place near the trail).

    I will start on Springer Mountain, on the 18th of July and will be going northbound. It will be very hot but Joe has proven that it is possible to do it at this time of year. Other times of the year have other hazards so I'm feeling OK with what is coming and will try to adapt and overcome as things come up to us (heat waves, storms, etc.)

    Like during my PCT run I will use a tracker that updates my location every 4 minutes. In addition I will track everything on Strava and will upload to Strava when cell service allows. The live-tracking website will be www.ATspeedrecord.com . We'll try to include Joe's GPS data on this site so you can see Joe moving on the map as well so people can have an idea of how I'm doing compared to the current record. We'll try to add Scott's data as well but he hasn't been able to extract it yet from his DeLorme device/website.

    Updates will come on the Facebook page Karel Sabbe Ultrarunning.

    The reason of the attempt is pretty simple: I love running and I love adventures. It's a unique opportunity to be able to run a trail like this with a crew, and I feel privileged to be able to do it. I don't know the Appalachian Trail which is a weakness but also a strength as I'm very curious to what's coming and to the scenery that I'll run through. I think the A.T. is a unique trail and I look forward to hike/run it. I also have the possibility of being record holder of both A.T. and P.C.T. at the same time which would be a first (David Horton and Joe McConaughy have held both records but not a the same time I think).

    Hoping for a safe and unforgettable experience!

    Wish me luck,

    Karel

  3. #3

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    I like that he is registering with Guinness Book of World Records as this will solidify a specific FKT format going forward.

  4. #4
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    No doubt his running mantra will be "They call this a trail?"
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5

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    Good luck!! Remember...it's not the heat, it's the humidity.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TravisRex View Post
    Here's his declaration post on FKT.com
    Thanks TRex for the repost. Karel’s site appears as if it will be as transparent as Harvey’s. Such accessible and detailed tracking is quite laudable for any serious FKT attempt in this day and age. Not trying to drift too far here, but I’d like to share a thought:

    A recent opinion piece by JPD (linked in the Harvey thread) is an interesting critique of some aspects of supported attempts like Harvey’s. I anticipate a similar sentiment for Karel’s given the doppelganger commercialized tracking sites, but we’ll see.

    As a big fan of the small footprint and self-supported style since BMT in 2009, I’m mostly in agreement with JPD’s view, but have to stop short of putting Joe’s performance on such a high pedestal. This irks me, as I too would love to lavish the praise.

    Timely transparency is a perpetual shortcoming for some recent self-supported efforts on the AT. On one hand, this is understandable. There’s likely no energy drink IT/social media machine managing and mapping such small-scale efforts…

    On the other hand, if a couple techno-noobs can produce publicly accessible, timely and thorough records of FKT efforts from the trail by fat-fingering flip phones (sans-SPOT) circa 2013/14, it’s reasonable to expect at least as much from those that follow.

    I understand the need for opacity while on the trail, especially when cruising crewless. But to deem decent documentation and stealth for safety’s sake as mutually exclusive is wrong. Just look at Joey’s blog. He also trialed a DIY delayed track map last year.

    Now that the bar’s set so stratospherically high, spending just one hour vlogging (rough estimate total from 2013) might seem too costly a time expenditure for an FKTer (I don’t agree). A “set it and forget it” mapping solution could help quell this concern.

    In short, despite critique, most supported FKT attempts have had timely transparency pretty dialed, while self-supported attempts, not so much. There’s still some room for improvement on JPD’s pedestal. So for the FKTers to come, I say watch and learn.
    Fast, Light & Free On the Appalachian Trail The story of a self-supported hike in less than 60 days.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by capehiker View Post
    I like that he is registering with Guinness Book of World Records as this will solidify a specific FKT format going forward.
    Well...yes and no. Pete Kostelnick, who ran cross country went through the effort of submitting for a Guinness World Record. And the verification is still pending. He was recently a guest on the TenJunkMiles podcast and wouldn't go into much detail but it was clear if he was doing it again, he wouldn't bother with the certification efforts. There's a post somewhere about his TransCon where he shows binders of information that he submitted and on the Pete's Feet Across America Facebook page there is a picture of witness statements from the police officers when one of the crew vehicles was involved in an accident. The amount of information needed for certification by Guinness is incredibly high, and arguably too high for anyone but a supported runner.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by capehiker View Post
    I like that he is registering with Guinness Book of World Records as this will solidify a specific FKT format going forward.
    Agree with Travis Rex. As a parent... this just strikes me as going to mommy for permission after daddy told you no.

    Simply put: I'm sure Guinness is perfectly capable of verifying that somebody covered 2600 miles of distance in the manner they claimed.
    The issue was that the FKT community did not agree that the 2600 miles covered were the correct 2600.

    These are not road races or controlled environments. The fact they take place in an inherently unpredictable natural environment on a tenuously maintained trail is what makes them what they are.
    You can do everything right and still fail; that's life in the woods.

    If simply to run a multi-thousand mile race were the goal... there are much better ways to do it... including recording and verification.
    All the random perils of the trip and the highly unlikely probability that all will go your way makes them special.

    That said- you may be right that it would solidify a specific FKT format.

    However that format would be different than the one that Karel voluntarily set out to partake in.
    The very format and community who cares for the FKT he chose to chase.
    If he had declared his intentions with guiness, and submitted his hike only to them... more power to him.
    But that is not what he did.

    As I see it... he voluntarily agreed to participate in the format that existed.
    And he is doing so again by declaring his intentions to the community on the FKT site. (with a few digs at that community too).
    And he is 'hedging his bets' that if he doesn't like the decision of the community he agreed to join that he will go outside it once more if needed.
    As always- my best to any hiker.
    Walk in Peace.

  9. #9

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    And for whatever it's worth-
    Horton and Stringbean have both held AT and PCT records, but not at the same time.
    The honor of holding them both at once is a podium that Heather Anderson stands alone on.
    Though if you wanted to talk overall regardless of style I believe Stringbean bested her time on the PCT prior to her AT record.
    However Heather's supported time still stands.
    Technically Anish held the AT, PCT and AZT self-supported FKT at the same time.

    Course you could debate that simply snagging the overall is not enough as Stringbean's current gauntlet was thrown down self-supported.
    Overall is overall but if truly comparing mano y mano its hard to ignore style.
    Course that claim would be assuming you'd be willing to ignore the asterisk on Karel's current PCT effort and the AT doesn't surprise him with the unique challenges it has presented to others before him.

    Perhaps Guiness can sort it out.
    I know drinking them is of tremendous assistance.
    A stout glass of pumpernickel comes in handy when I've had a few too many Belgiums the night prior.

  10. #10
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    It looks like Karel's tracker is now live:

    https://www.skins.net/usa/appalachian?
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelCut View Post
    It looks like Karel's tracker is now live:

    https://www.skins.net/usa/appalachian?
    I like the tracker but doesn't give his time. Does anyone know his official start time?

  12. #12

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    If you zoom in and click it looks to be 4:31:48am today (July 18). btw the circled numbers are in KMs, right? Gooch Mountain (15.7 miles) is showing between the 20 and 30. He's about 20KM in at 7:52am, so 12 miles in just over 3 hours.

  13. #13

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    I'm not saying that's official, but it's probably really close.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailRunnerGuy View Post
    If you zoom in and click it looks to be 4:31:48am today (July 18). btw the circled numbers are in KMs, right? Gooch Mountain (15.7 miles) is showing between the 20 and 30. He's about 20KM in at 7:52am, so 12 miles in just over 3 hours.
    The circled numbers are kilometers, but they seem to be only approximations. The data I have for 2018 says the total length of the AT is 2190.9 miles. This converts to 3525.9 km. But if you zoom in on Baxter peak on his tracker, you see this is marked at just past 3417 km.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailRunnerGuy View Post
    If you zoom in and click it looks to be 4:31:48am today (July 18). btw the circled numbers are in KMs, right? Gooch Mountain (15.7 miles) is showing between the 20 and 30. He's about 20KM in at 7:52am, so 12 miles in just over 3 hours.
    When I zoom in and click all I get is today's date, time and % battery remaining.

  16. #16
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    Toggle to OSM map. opentopomap.org appears to be having problems. The toggle to switch maps is on the right by the zoom controls.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  17. #17

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    Day 1: 83km....15km ahead of Stringbean

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatchee View Post
    When I zoom in and click all I get is today's date, time and % battery remaining.
    On my screen I go to the "Participant List" window to the left of the screen and click the "Show Participants Course" icon (looks like a folded map, between the eyeball and magnifying glass). Zoom in close and you will see a series of blue dots connected by a yellow line. Click on the blue dot to get the data for that tracking point. They are usually running one per minute, with a few gaps. Speaking of gaps, there is a bit of an anomaly at the end of today's track.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    No doubt his running mantra will be "They call this a trail?"
    This I doubt. It has been noted that Karel has completed the Sierra High Route, which is certainly one of the contiguous 48's most challenging hiking objectives. The AT, even in many of its most difficult sections, is a stroll in comparison.

    Speaking of the SHR, I was unable to find any details on how long it took Karel to hike it. Does anyone have any insight or additional information? From what I've read of Karel and this attempt thus far, he has my vote of confidence.

  20. #20

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