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Kyle Curtin Sets Men’s Supported Colorado Trail Fastest Known Time

Kyle Curtin resets the men’s supported Colorado Trail fastest known time for the east-to-west direction via the Collegiate West variant.

By and on July 1, 2024 | Comments

Finishing before midnight on Sunday, June 30, 2024, Kyle Curtin brought the men’s supported Colorado Trail fastest known time (FKT) for the east-to-west direction on the Collegiate West variation to a blazing 6 days, 15 hours, and 8 minutes.

Kyle Curtin and crew at Colorado Trail finish - Photo Maggie Guterl

Kyle Curtin (center) with some of his crew after reaching Durango and setting a new overall men’s supported fastest known time on the Colorado Trail. All photos courtesy of Maggie Guterl.

Starting on Monday, June 24 at 8:15 a.m., the Durango, Colorado, trail runner set out from the Waterton Canyon trailhead, the eastern terminus of the 490-mile Colorado Trail outside of Denver. Well under 7 days later, he arrived “home” to the Junction Creek trailhead outside of Durango. The Colorado Trail gains something around 90,000 feet of vertical and passes as high as 13,271 feet as it traces through some of Colorado’s biggest and most remote mountain ranges.

The prior record of this specific version of the FKT was set in 2019 by Joe Grant in 8 days, 20 hours, and 9 minutes.

This time also beats the overall men’s supported Colorado Trail FKT,  which was set in 2020 by Michael McKnight in 7 days, 13 hours, 16 minutes, and 15 seconds. In McKnight’s effort, he traveled from west to east, and used the Collegiate East variation.

Kyle Curtin on snow during Colorado Trail FKT - Photo Maggie Guterl

Kyle Curtin found lingering snow on his relatively early season Colorado Trail traverse.

According to Curtin’s GPS tracker and social media, he covered the first 100 miles in roughly 24 hours. By 2 days elapsed, he’d traveled in the vicinity of 175 miles. He surpassed 300 miles some hours before the 4-day mark. He began the final 100 miles somewhere around 5 days and 6 hours into the effort, and covered the final 100 miles in about 1 day and 7 hours.

In total, his pace averages out to 74.5 miles per day, or 3 miles per hour. This includes all stopped time, including to sleep, eat, and otherwise take care of himself.

Kyle Curtin crew stop during Colorado Trail FKT - Photo Maggie Guterl

Curtin met up with his crew often for the finer things in life, including pizza and Coke. Here he is at Stony Pass, in the San Juan Mountains, about to begin the final 100 miles of his effort.

There are a number of FKTs for the Colorado Trail, depending on the direction and which variation of the trail the athlete takes — either the Collegiate West or Collegiate East. While traversing the Collegiate Peaks area west of Buena Vista, the trail splits for between 70 and 80 miles and trail users can choose which option to take. Traditionally, the Collegiate East version is seen as easier for its lower altitude, less climbing, and shorter distance, and prior fastest times have been set on this variant.

Curtin said on social media that chose the more challenging Collegiate West direction in part because he said it was the trail’s more natural and representative variant of the two.

Kyle Curtin during Colorado Trail FKT - Photo Maggie Guterl

Back in his home mountains for the final two days, Curtin just had to get though the San Juans to set a new overall men’s supported Colorado Trail FKT.

The Interlaken Fire outside of Twin Lakes caused a local closure of part of both the Collegiate West and Collegiate East variants. The Colorado Trail Association has recommended reroutes for each piece of the trail, and Curtin followed the Collegiate West reroute. This reroute shortens the Collegiate West variant by several miles, but according to Curtin’s social media, it was longer and more difficult than the Collegiate East fire alternate.

On social media, Curtin said he wanted to set a unifying FKT for both variants by taking the harder of the two.

Along the way, he raised over $6,000 for Big City Mountaineers, a U.S. non-profit group seeking to get youth out into the wilderness.

Curtin was supported by an all-star crew of trail runners that included Sarah Ostazewski, Devon Olson, Michael Robertson, Robyn Lesh, Tara Dower, Courtney Dauwalter, Jeff Browning, Maggie Guterl, and others.

Kyle Curtin and pacer during Colorado Trail FKT - Photo Maggie Guterl

Curtin (left) used an all-star crew of pacers, including Jeff Browning pictured here, to help him on his way from Denver to Durango, Colorado.

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.

Meghan Hicks

Eszter Horanyi identifies as a Runner Under Duress, in that she’ll run if it gets her deep into the mountains or canyons faster than walking would, but she’ll most likely complain about it. A retired long-distance bike racer, she gave ultra foot racing a go and finished the Ouray 100 in 2017, but ultimately decided that she prefers a slower pace of life of taking photos during long days in the mountains and smelling the flowers while being outside for as many hours of the day as possible. Eszter will take any opportunity to go adventuring in the mountains or desert by foot, bike, or boat, and has lived the digital nomad lifestyle throughout the west for the past seven years.