When Larsen Ojala and Travis Muhonen finished up their run of the Skyline Traverse on August 27, they didn’t even realize what they had done. A brand new route, the duo believed they were going for the Fastest Known Time uncontested—unbeknownst to them, another runner had done the loop in 9 hours and 13 minutes in July. “I did see a write up that morning about it, but I didn’t know it was submitted as an FKT,” Ojala said. Regardless, they smashed it and set their own benchmark: 8 hours and 37 minutes.

We sat down with Ojala to chat about the team’s accomplishment.

goEast: So, whose idea was the Skyline Traverse FKT and where did it come from?

Ojala: Like every bad idea we seem to get roped into, it came from Stomp [of the SLASR Podcast]. We were his human sacrifices for this. Stomp approached me after I ran the Lodge2Dodge and asked if we would be interested in doing it.

goEast: Were there any big logistical hurdles you had to figure out before taking it on?

Ojala: Not really. I kind of compared it to the Pemi Loop for a pace match, but just sent it. I actually ran the second half over the Tripyramids and Snows solo beforehand, just to be sure of the weird turns in there.

goEast: Were you guys training much for this specifically?

Ojala: I had zero training with this in mind. Our ultra distance goals this year are pretty long, so we really looked at this as a training run for that stuff.

goEast: What were your biggest concerns leading up to the run?

Ojala: My concern was the humidity going in—it was hot. But I think Travis’s biggest concern was that I would be to slow for him.

goEast: Tell me about the day-of. Did anything eventful happen while you were running?

Ojala: It was mostly business as usual. I had some fun bombing the steep technical downhills.

goEast: What was your (emotional) highpoint for the day?

Ojala: My high of the day was finishing and seeing Sarita and the kids at the finish and getting the “FKT” off my plate for a busy year.

goEast: What were the biggest struggles as you completed it?

Ojala: My biggest struggle was the humidity. I struggled all day In it and fell largely short of our time goal because of it. This FKT has plenty of time left out there for either myself or many others to beat what we did.

goEast: Was there a point during the day that you knew you had it in the bag? Or did you wait until the end?

Ojala: When we met Stomp on the road 1.6 miles before the finish, although we weren’t aware there even was an FKT until then.

goEast: Whats next for you guys? Any other big missions on the horizon?

Ojala: Travis and I are preparing to embark on the White Mountains 100 the end of September. And many other dreams/goals but I don’t want to say them and get to ahead of myself!