Fast Times (and Aesthetic Lines) - Page 3
Scott Jaime grinding it out during his FKT on the nearly 500-mile Colorado Trail. Photo by Matt Trappe
In 2009, Scott Jaime ran and hiked the 486-mile Colorado Trail (CT). The 44-year-old who works in pharmaceutical sales and lives outside of Denver was plagued by shin splints and a logistical learning curve as steep as sections of the CT. Jaime finished in about 11-and-a-half days but knew he could go faster. It was only a matter of time until training and stars would align for him to give the CT supported FKT another go.
The time was right in August 2013—in 8 days 7 hours 40 minutes 17 seconds, Jaime successfully reset the supported FKT, which was previously held by Paul Pomeroy at 8 days 12 hours 14 minutes. Jaime traveled an average of 58 miles a day and slept for a few hours each night in an RV. He used the assistance of a crew, which included his wife, Nicole Jaime, his father-in-law, Rick Robinson, his parents, Alverna and Julian Jaime, and photographer/videographer Matt Trappe. A passel of ultrarunning friends alternated as pacers.
Jaime says the most volatile moment came on day five. Just before dark, he arrived at a crew point that was 43 miles in but still 17 miles from the day’s end point. There, his father-in-law pulled the plug on the day—he worried that Jaime’s traveling so long into the night would compromise the attempt. Jaime worried that stopping early would put him behind record pace.
“The shortened day five was the first time Scott had to dig into the cushion he had built into his schedule,” explains Denver-based Trappe, 32. “He was still beyond half way and well ahead of record pace. He hadn’t been sleeping well so he was due for a shortened day and some extended sleep. I knew the extra rest would keep him on track.”
But Jaime’s ability to go on would have to come from within, not from others’ confidence. “I went into the RV, lay down and promised myself I would continue,” remembers Jaime. “I thought about my years at the Hardrock 100. Every year I struggle, and am on the edge of DNFing at some point. But when the race ends, I’ve put down a good time.” At 3:45 a.m. the next morning, Jaime pressed on, catching up each day on those lost miles and setting a new record.
“This was about finding my personal limit,” says Jaime. “No one knows their limits unless they seek them out.”
Former Zion Traverse FKT holder Krissy Moehl and Jared Campbell on a run in Zion National Park. Photo by Fred Marmsater
Bethany Lewis holds the women’s FKTs for both the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim and the Zion Traverse, an almost-50-mile, point-to-point route across Zion National Park. Lewis set the women’s Zion Traverse record on April 21, 2013, at 8 hours 32 minutes, bettering Krissy Moehl’s previous record of 9 hours 9 minutes.
Mike Foote, the 30-year-old co-men’s FKT holder for the Zion Traverse (with Justin Yates) who works as a race director in Missoula, Montana, says, “The traverse is dynamic and inspiring with steep climbs, technical descents, deep sand, hot temperatures and, in places, herds of tourists.”
Why does Lewis, a 35-year-old academic dermatologist from Salt Lake City, Utah, run FKT efforts? “I like to run fast with my husband, Ben. It’s easier to get a babysitter for my daughter if we’re going for an FKT. People get behind that kind of effort.” She laughs and continues, “I don’t look at numbers or read about FKTs on the Internet. I rarely wear a GPS.” Lewis runs by how she feels and lets her fitness—and husband—take care of the records. “Ben keeps tabs on the numbers and tells me what records he thinks I can break. It’s really that simple.”
For the Zion Traverse, she started on the route’s east side at 7 a.m. sharp. “Because I always accidentally shut off watches,” she says she needed a simple starting time of day as a backup. “I ran the first 11 miles or so, from the East Rim Trailhead to Zion Canyon alone.” There she met Ben, and together they climbed out of Zion Canyon and onto the western half of the route. The hardest part for her was a stretch of several sandy miles in Hop Valley, which they hit with about 10 miles to go. “Oh, how the sand swallows your momentum!” she says. “I’m sure some people run the last hill, but I had to hike. My legs were done.”
“My record is soft,” says the modest Lewis. “There are so many people doing far more amazing things.”