Endurance athlete Josh Perry smashed the self-supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the Pacific Crest Trail with a time of 55 days, 16 hours, 54 minutes.
At 8:56 pm on August 7th Josh reached the northern terminus of the PCT, where he hung out and slept for about 15 hours, occasionally taking photos with other hikers.
In a recent Instagram post, he reflected:
I know my posts throughout the latter half of the trail were fairly negative, and the result is slightly bittersweet. But at the end of the day, the experience I had was an incredible one and the struggles are an expected part of that.
I also learned a lot, and have much to be proud of. I dealt with my injuries and hardships better than I have on previous FKTs, I rode the line for a long stretch without going over the edge, but I could nearly always push further when it was required, I severely limited my use ibuprofen/ tylenol (<5 times). I was efficient with most of my resupplies, and generally speaking I had a great time out there.
Josh, a British hiker, averaged 47.6 miles per day on the 2,653 mile trail, though he adds that he did an additional 20+ miles on the detour, 26 miles for resupply, 4 miles going the wrong way, and 1 mile getting water. “So it was actually more like 2704 miles, and 48.5 mpd.”
Josh, who also holds the self-supported FKT record on the Arizona Trail, and who set the unsupported FKT on Vermont’s long trail before Jeff Garmire edged him out, bested PCT records that have stood for almost a decade.
The overall self-supported FKT title was previously (and famously) held by Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson, who completed the PCT in 2013 in 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes. Josh cut her time by 5 days, while also shaving 10 days off the previous male self-supported record set in 2009.
Of note, Josh came within serious striking distance of the supported record of the PCT set by Timothy Olson in 2021, missing it by a meager 4 days.
The differences between self-supported and supported FKTs are huge. Timothy slept most nights in an RV, ate hot meals cooked by others and received regular sports massages.
Meanwhile, Josh was totally self-reliant in his FKT of the trail — mailing himself any needed gear or food, and otherwise relying on what he could find in trail towns. Because of the ‘self-supported’ designation of his FKT, even getting into towns could not involve hitchhiking or the use of a vehicle (thus his 26 bonus miles for resupplies).
To set the FKT, Josh limited the amount of time he slept — alternating between 3 hour and 4.5 hour sleep stretches on his final push — and suffered through everything from sun stroke to panic attacks. But, along with the struggles, the trail also brought him joy.
In his most recent Instagram post, he summarizes it this way:
Doing Cutthroat pass on my last night was a joy, as was rediscovering the art of 1 and 2 minute dirt naps in the middle of the trail.
A huge congrats to Josh!
For more on Fastest Known Times, check out the article written for GGG by Jeff Garmire, Fastest Known Times — What Are They? Why Attempt One?