Karel Sabbe Takes Back the Men’s Supported Pacific Crest Trail FKT

Karel Sabbe sets a new men’s supported Pacific Crest Trail fastest known time.

By on August 27, 2023 | Comments

Karel Sabbe has taken back the men’s supported fastest known time (FKT) on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which he completed on August 26, 2023 in a time of 46 days, 12 hours, and 50 minutes.

Sabbe previously held the men’s supported FKT — at 52 days, 8 hours, and 25 minutes from when he completed the route in 2016 — but conceded it to Timothy Olson in July, 2021. Olson’s 51 days, 16 hours, and 55 minutes then became the time to beat.

Sabbe’s effort comes out to an incredible average of 58.1 miles (94 kilometers) per day.

Karel Sabbe - 2023 Barkley Marathons

File photo of Karel Sabbe (right) before starting his fifth and final loop of the 2023 Barkley Marathons. Photo: John Fegyveresi

The long-distance hiking trail runs the south-to-north length of the United States — from the Mexico border at Campo, California, to the Canadian border at Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia. Along the way, it passes through California, Oregon, and Washington — through deserts, wilderness areas, and steep climbs in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Sabbe — who hails from Belgium, who previously won the 2020 Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, and who was the third finisher of the 2023 Barkley Marathons — began his journey from the southernmost point of the trail on July 10.


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His progress could be tracked through a link on his website, which showed Sabbe in a virtual “race” along the route with previous record holders, including Olson, and “2016 Karel” — his own previous effort on the route.

On July 30, his crew shared on social media:

“Yesterday we camped next to Lake Dorothy. Four miles later, Karel Sabbe hit the 1,000 mile mark. We were pondering that night how crazy it is that we’re so far in already. And how crazy this adventure really is. With the desert and Sierras behind us, we’re ready for chapter three: North California.”

Ten days later and already well ahead of schedule — after a push to achieve the milestone in under 30 days — Karel and team crossed the state line from California into Oregon with 29 days, 23 hours, and 59 minutes on the clock.

Washington state brought its own adventure. Toward the end of his journey, Sabbe had to navigate a roughly 70-mile detour from Suiattle Pass — at around mile 2,550 — to the Methow River Trail intersection, due to the wildfires that have been ravaging the state of Washington. The detour not only added some distance, but also brought Sabbe onto some more challenging terrain.

Finally, on August 26, Sabbe touched the U.S.-Canadian border and the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, taking a whopping 5 days, 4 hours off of Olson’s time.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.