Ultra runner achieves lifetime goal to set FKT on Pacific Crest Trail

Tim olson
Runner Tim Olson sets new record on the Pacific Crest Trail (Image credit: Adidas Terrex)

An ultra runner has set a new record time on one of the world’s longest and most iconic hiking trails.

Tim Olson, a professional trail runner for Adidas TERREX and two-time Western States 100 champion, completed the 2650-mile (4170km) Pacific Crest Trail in a new Fastest Known Time (FKT) of 51 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes.

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada  and heads through the states of California, Oregon and Washington. 

When Tim started out at the southern end his aim was to run 50 miles (80 km) each day. Two weeks into the challenge, he was ahead of his pace and eventually finished  with 15 hours and 30 minutes spare over the previous record held by Karel Sabbe, from Belgium. 

It is a challenge that Tim had long wanted to do. He said: “From the very beginning of my trail running career, I wanted to run the PCT. It’s a part of my heart and finally I’ve reached the stage where I want to do the whole thing.”

Tim Olson

Tim said he has long wanted to attempt this long-distance run (Image credit: Adidas Terrex)

Tim Olson

Tim ran more than 50 miles a day on average to record the PCT fastest time (Image credit: Adidas Terrex)

His run on the PCT, which finished on July 22, was supported. Every day he averaged 50.9 miles (82km) and some 8200ft (2500m) of elevation gain. 

Tim partnered with the Return to Zero: H.O.P.E Foundation, a community of bereaved families and health-care providers with the goal of transforming the culture around pregnancy and infant loss through awareness, education and support. See Tim’s page.

While speaking on the Fastest Known Podcast with Buzz Burrell, he said he would not have accomplished the FKT without the support of his team, family, and Krista, his wife and fellow ultrarunner, who is expecting their third child  this month.

He also revealed he would like to attempt an unsupported FKT on a long-distance trail in the next few years. 

See Fastest Known Time of more records.

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.