5 Questions for 5 Days of Long Trail FKT

In June, we caught up with Vermont ultra-runner and UnTapped athlete, Aliza Lapierre. At that time, she mentioned a potential attempt at the FKT on the Long Trail — a 272 mile trail that snakes the length of Vermont from Canada to Massachusetts straight through the Green Mountains. Aliza is about to start her attempt at the FKT and she was generous with her time to sit down and answer a few questions.

Aliza, what is an “FKT”, and what is the record on the Long Trail?

FKT is shorthand for Fastest Known Time and is essentially a recorded speed record on any given route. The fun part about FKT’s is that at any time on any given day can go out and try their hand at breaking a record. Currently the Long Trail women’s supported record is held by Alyssa Godesky and is 5 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes.

Wow! How does one train for a 5-plus day effort and what are the logistics for such an endeavor?

I’d say that everyone’s approach to training and preparing varies. Since I grew up in Vermont and train a lot in the mountains I have seen many sections of the LT, but never in succession. So for me, it was important to link smaller sections together to create longer days on my feet and to experience the effects of doing mountains like Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump in one day.

In terms of logistics, I have discovered there are a lot! Doing the trail supported means I can have outside help such as crew and pacers. 

With everyone’s help, the aim is to be on the move for roughly 20 hours a day and then sleeping 3 to 4 hours at a time.

All photos: Max Romey

That’s an incredible amount of teamwork. How big is the crew around you?

My team starts with my crew captain Josh White. Josh will oversee the entire adventure and will fill in and support pacing during times I am really struggling. He’s an ultra runner himself, an ER doctor, and is very detail-oriented so I know I am good hands.

My husband George will be wearing many hats, from pacer to caregiver and my parents are the official cooks during this journey for everyone involved. In terms of pacers, I have 15 different individuals, some of them are close friends, others training partners, and a few complete strangers. I see this end-to-end project as a total team effort and there is no “I” involved, it’s all “we”.

You will undoubtedly be burning thousands of calories every day! What is your nutrition plan?

Due to the duration of the time needed to complete the trail end to end I will be relying on real foods and endurance fuel. At major road crossings when I see my crew I will be stopping for a few minutes and eating meals. I’ve planned on foods like sandwiches, pizza, noodles and other staples that I normally love having and typically don’t have issues with.

On the trail I am relying on the UnTapped Nutrition line. My favorite are the Lemon Tea MapleaidCoffee UnTapped and Chai Waffles. They all digest really easily and give me a steady consistent energy burn, which is exactly what I want over this long effort.

How can we follow along with your attempt?

I will be carrying a GPS tracking device so you can follow along start to finish. My attempt will begin on Thursday, August 15th and end… well, when I get to the Vermont / Massachusetts border!