Friday, April 20, 2012

Frontenac Perimeter Trail 04/14/12 FKT!

Frontenac Perimeter Trail Run Report - April 14, 2012. FKT of 4:59:15

Last fall, a friend of mine, Eric Batty, and I, decided to run the La Cloche Trail in Killarney. While out there, running, I realized I was grossly under prepared. About 55 km into the 80 km trail, my legs totally shut down, and I was reduced to walking. Eric left, and set a new “FKT” or “Fastest Known Time” on the trail, of about 9.5 hours and I rambled in at about 10:45. This would have still been a new FKT, had Eric not just crushed it!

Anyways, this new and exciting thing we were doing had a name. Ultra Running. Or Ultra marathon distance running. Or just having fun... Whatever you call it, its sweet. Having never run an organized race of more than 10 miles, this was very new to me.

Over the winter, I continued to run, and did some skiing (when there was snow) and some snowshoeing. Once spring arrived, I started to get the itch to try to run another ‘long-ish’ trail in a good time. With a busy work schedule, and social schedule, it is hard to get away and do cool multi-day trips, so my criteria was the following:
-at least ultra marathon distance
-close enough to drive
-a cool, fun, challenging trail.

I heard of the Frontenac Perimeter trail on the internet. It is basically just running the existing trail network in the Frontenac Provincial park, but making a loop, as large as possible out of the network... a.k.a. running the perimeter of the park. Cool!

Stats on the trail:
- Approx 51 km. Our GPS watches measured about 46 km. They always under-read due to the windy nature of trails, and their lack of accuracy
-Approx 900 m of ascent
-Moderately rocky and technical terrain. (i’d give it a 6/10 for technical)

So, Eric met at Starbucks, at 6:45 am. We drove the 2.5 hours to the trail head, and got all ready to go. We were very uncertain with regards to equipment selection. About 3 weeks prior, we had done a 40 km run together, of which about ½ was on trail. I did that run on 1 bottle, with 1 fill up. So, I thought that for 51 km, I’d be able to do the same. Eric was going to use 2 big bottles. So, I settled, and decided to go with 1 waist bottle, and 1 handheld. We also brought Katadyn water purification tabs, to fill up with.

It was about 14-17 degrees during our run, and we started out with light long sleeve shirts, but ditched them after a while.

Anyways, back to the run. We started at about 9:20 am. Using 1 crappy map, and 1 good map, we tried our best to navigate, but about 3.5 km into the run, we realized we had missed a turn. CRAP! So, we went back to the start, and re-started. This mistake added about 6 km to the total trail length. We re-started our GPS watches, and took off (again). This time, things went better. We set off with the intention of running a good hard run, but not trying to kill ourselves. If we got an FKT, awesome! If not, no biggie. Just an early season fitness test. As we kept running we were speculating times, and just kept up our comfortable pace. The first ½ of the trail is the more technical part. Lots of rocks, a few short scrambles, and decent elevation gain/loss. Luckily, my prior experience was Killarney, so this trail seemed flat, by comparison.

After about 2:45:00 of running we stopped to fill bottles. This stop cost us ~ 3.5 minutes. Unfortunately, the Katadyn tabs that Eric brought were nasty. They made it such that the water really hurt our tummies, and seemed to make us dehydrated, all at the same time! Very yucky stuff. Since we were surrounded by beaver ponds, we didn’t want to drink the water straight, so we just suffered. Eric was much more affected than I was, and the last hour or so was brutal for him. We took 1 other water break, about 4:00 into the run. We only filled one bottle each this time. Stopped time was about 1:30. Additional time stops include 2 pee breaks (30 seconds each) and one other significant getting lost break of about 1 minute, where we just stood there looking for blazes. Total stop time was under 7 minutes.

After the water stop, we ditched our shirts, and ran the rest shirtless. Our pace gradually dropped throughout the run, but we were able to scoot in at just under 5 hours. Actual time was 4:59:15. Moving time was 4:52:15. Sub 5 hours was the little mini-goal I had set for ourselves. Awesome! I think that with better water, and some saltier foods, we could cut another 20-25 minutes off that time, at our current fitness levels. Also, knowing the trail would help too.

Ryan Atkins
-1 650 ml waist bottle pack, “race day” brand. Trek Water bottle.
-1 650 ml Ultimate Direction handheld bottle. UD bottle.
-Size 9.5 MT110 shoes (Awesome shoes, but not very durable)
-Arcteryx Ether Crew Comp LS shirt
-Race Day Shorts. (about 6 inches long, with tons of pockets)
-Defeet Wool-E-Ator socks. Size medium.
-Lululemon pink non-slip headband. (sweet!)
-Garmin 405CX GPS.
-Eats: 1 double snickers bar (220 cals each x2), 3 clif chews (200 cals per pack). Plain water.

- Osprey Talon 8, with two Camelback 900 ml podium bottles
-Salomon XA pro shoes. non Gore version
-Arcteryx Phase AR ZIP Neck LS shirt
-Short running shorts (forgot the brand!)
I’m not sure what socks Eric was wearing.
-Garmin 405CX GPS

Overall this was a beautiful run. It was also just an experience to get out, and see a new provincial park. The terrain is very “Canadian shield” and totally stunning. For me, the highlight was one ridge section, which was only about 30 ft wide, and smack between two lakes. COOL!


  1. Awesome run guys! Really cool to see the record get down to closer to where it should be. Glad you enjoyed the park.

    1. Thanks Derrick. Its a really cool park. Great trails, nice diversity, and pretty low traffic. I can't wait to get back, and run it again! maybe in the fall.

  2. Great run by you guys, congrats. Glad you liked the park. Derrick and I are lucky to have it so close to us, and have left a whole lot of footprints there. You'll definitely have to come back to explore some of the interior loops. April isn't the prettiest time of year there, but good for running this year with it being dry.