The Most Inspiring Efforts of 2020

These Athletes Gave It Everything.

 In a year where racing was scarce but adventure was plentiful, we watched as athletes took to well known routes and new terrain to test their limits. Our congrats go out to these athletes for pushing boundaries, doing things for the greater good, and finding new ways to experience the wilderness.

Women: 

Maddie Hart- Kokopelli Trail | 138 miles | 33 hrs

Maddie’s impressive attempt of the Kokopelli trail FKT makes the list for her bravery to go after a well-established time on this logistically complex trail. Maddie went out to challenge herself in the desert and with a new distance and an unforgiving terrain. Her curiosity to find out want she could endure while on this trail fueled her fire from Loma CO, to Moab UT.

Maddie Hart Kokopelli Trail FKT
Photo Courtesy of Maddie Hart

Sarah Hansel: Nolans 14 | Unsupported FKT (North Bound) | 57 hours 43 minutes

Sarah makes our list for her beast mode performance on the Nolans 14 line in an impressive 57 hours and 43 minutes. Sarah came from South Carolina to attempt this pure mountain linkup. Over the course of the past few years she has made mental gains in not only in her attempts, but in her training weeks while in the Sawatch Range. What made this effort stand out to us was her tenacity to never give up on the line, while knowing that she could would do it. She even went one step further and attempted the line solo and unsupported. Sarah defined resilience and perseverance through some of Colorados toughest terrain… all coming  from 525ft above sea level. Anything is possible!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Hansel

Abby Hall: Nüümü Poyo (John Muir Trail) | 233 miles | 4 days and 11 hours 

Abby cracks the top three on our list for her attempt at the Nüümü Poyo (John Muir Trail) Unsupported FKT. We were inspired by her vulnerability to go back to a route that she had left incomplete a few years ago. With a new mindset and direction of her journey on the trail, Abby made an effort to connect to the lands and its native roots while creating an awareness and respect for the land we travel. Though she missed achieving the FKT by just a few hours, her determination and love for the land showed through and made this a standout adventure. We think her video, linked below, will inspire you too. Courtesy of Abby & Adidas.

Men:

Coree Woltering: Ice Age Trail FKT | 1147 miles | 21 days 13hrs and 35 min.

Coree makes our list for his perseverance and resiliency. He was almost derailed from his attempt on the trail during day two by dozens and dozens of ticks (any many more throughout), and at about half way he decided to keep moving forward despite a hard ankle roll. He made an impressive push in the last 100 miles of the trail, clocking a sub 24 hour final 100 miles to finish with the FKT. Coree raised money for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, which helps to maintain the trail, and for Feeding America, a national nonprofit that helps food banks all over the country.

Coree Woltering trail running ice age
Photo Courtesy of Coree Woltering

Hannes Gehring: Nolans 14 | 53 hours and 57 min.

Our second Nolan’s 14 mention on this list, Hannes makes the list for using this route as a platform for drawing awareness to racial injustice. Wanting to find a way to support the cause, Hannes decided to dedicate his Nolans 14 effort to Black Lives Matter, taking the names of unjustly killed African Americans to the top of every peak. He conquered the route through one of the windier, smokier, and colder weekends of the autumn season, always keeping in mind the ultimate goal: making their voices heard in the best way he knew how.…the mountains. Hannes raised funds and awareness for the Equal Justice Initiative.

Hannes nolans 14
Collage courtesy of Hannes Gehring. Main image by Run Infinite.

Ryan Smith and Nick Pedatella: PHAT 50 | 53 hours and 52 mins | 75 miles | 36,000 ft

As they describe, the PHAT 50 is a continuous line of 50 named peaks sitting over 12,000ft. This line connects Colorado’s Milner Pass and Berthoud Pass while traversing through 3 separate wilderness boundaries. The line closely resembles the Pfiffner traverse but adds on some extra spiciness with class 3-5 climbing along the way, and many more peaks. With no roads the entire way, this was an unsupported effort through vast and untouched terrain. Nick and Ryan make the list for their creativity on this desolate route which required solid dedication and know-how.

Cordis Ryan Pfiffner
Photo courtesy of Ryan and Nick

Honarable Mentions 

Those are just our top 3! There was a ton of epic running in 2020. Here’s the other ones we still have got to get out there for some recognition!

Women:

Becca Jay: As Many 14ers In 24hrs | Supported FKT (CO) | 8 peaks | 18 hours and 37 min

Becca used this create-your-own-route effort through Colorado’s mountains to raise awareness for Black Lives Matter and to educate on racial injustice through the Equal Justice Initiative. 

Lexi Miller, Sunni Stroeer, and Christin Douglas: 
R2R2R Alt Route (AZ) | Unsupported OKT-FKT | 22 hrs and 27 min .

These three established the women’s standard on this route less traveled through the Grand Canyon. The route requires the runners to cross the Colorado river by either swimming or pack rafting to connect both rims. These incredible women set the only/fastest known times AND did it in October. Brr!

Emily Halnon: Oregon PCT | Overall FKT | 7 days 19 hours and 23 min

 Emily ran Oregon section of the PCT to bring awareness to rare cancers, while dedicating the effort to the memory of her mother, and set the FKT while doing it.

Kaitlyn Yonke: White Rim Road | Supported FKT | 20 hrs 19min and 22sec

Kaitlyn dedicated her efforts on this rugged and remote 100 mile road in Canyonlands NP to erasing Multiple Sclerosis by raising money and awareness for the disease. 

Men:

Cordis Hall: LA Freeway | Unsupported FKT | in 20hrs and 36 min

This route links together Longs peak and Arapaho Peak by traversing 23 summits along the way, some of which involve undivided concentration on class 5 terrain. Cordis completed this jagged, technical route in record time. 

Luke Jay:  As Many 14ers in 24 hours | Supported FKT | 22 hrs for 11 peaks.

Luke put up a stout time on 11 peaks to raise funds for Big City Mountaineers. This is a local Colorado non profit that provides free access to fully outfitted and led outdoor adventures for youth ages 8-18.

Peter Halper: Run Across America 

Peter ran across America for Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood Cancer. Peter ran for and with the Emorys Thunder Run for Childhood cancer Foundation after his great-niece passed away from the disease. The 3,076 mile journey took him about 4 months, crossing from California to New Jersey.

There it is! 2020 had some amazing adventures and no doubt the creativity, athleticism, and for-a-cause elements of these adventures will go on to propel other athletes forward in 2021. Give a shout to these amazing athletes and follow them as linked! 

Who would be on your most inspiring efforts of 2020 list?

If you would like to make a contribution to any of the amazing causes these athletes were inspired to run for, links can be found below

Equal Justice Initiative: http://www.eji.prg

Feeding America: http://www.feedingamerica.org

Big City Mountaineers: https://bigcitymountaineers.org

Emorys Foundation: https://www.emerysmemoryfoundation.com/aboutus

Multiple Sclerosis:http://www.msruntheus.org 

Brave Like Gabe: https://www.bravelikegabe.org

Share the stoke!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email

Stay In The Loop!

Subscribe for new 360 routes, articles, and deals!

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Trail running ultrarunning training plans 100 mile 50 marathon 14ers mountain

#StaySendy

Let's Run Together. Follow Along.

Send Stoke. Support the Site.