Fastest Known Time competitor scales High Peaks

PHOTO PROVIDEDProfessional triathlete and ultra runner Alyssa Godesky and her support crew headed into the Adirondacks at 4 a.m. Monday morning for their attempt to set the Fastest Known Time speed record for completing the 46 High Peaks.

SOMEWHERE IN THE HIGH PEAKS – Professional triathlete and ultra runner Alyssa Godesky knocked off Mt. Emmons, Donaldson Mountain, Seward Mountain and Seymour Mountain before noon on Monday.

The Charlottesville, Va. resident and her crew were attempting a Fastest Known Time (FKT, Female, Supported) for the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks.

Godesky first came to the region for Iron Man.

“I've been up to the Adirondacks several times over the last year or so to prepare for this run,” she said.

“Historically, I had started going up there in 2013 getting ready to race Iron Man that's up there and things like that. So, it had mostly been triathlon based. I had known about the High Peaks and known that there's record attempts for people. I had known that no woman has yet to set a record for speed on the High Peaks kind of thing.”


Godesky had the project in mind for several years.

“This was the year that it kind of made sense to put it together,” she said.

“Over the last year and so, I have been pretty focused on this project specially.”

Two years ago, Godesky set a FKT for the Long Trail in Vermont.

At lists her record for the fastest female with support.

“Which means I had a crew of people helping me do the Long Trail, 273 miles,” Godesky said.

“With the High Peaks, it's different because there are 46 peaks and you can actually make your own route.”

The basic rules are to use public land and the competitor has to start and finish her time on a trail head.

“But if you're doing it supported, which I will be doing again with a crew, and have someone run with me at times and things like that, we can drive between the trail heads,” Godesky said.

“I've actually plotted my own route for it which is going to be different than the men who have set the record.”


Ryan Atkins holds the existing FKT men's record three days, five hours and two minutes.

“There is no female record,” Godesky said.

“There actually is another woman (Sarah Keyes) who is going to go for a record as well. We're actually starting on the same day. We found out about each other. We talked, and we said let's just start on the same day and make it a little bit more exciting. We're starting at slightly different times and in different spots because again the routes we've made is different.”


Godesky is the using this run to raise funds for the Paden Institute and Retreat for Writers of Color, which was founded in 1997 by Essex residents Alice Green and Charles Touhey.

On her website, Godesky writes:

“As a female professional athlete, I know firsthand how important representation is, and how crucial literature and media can be to “seeing” that representation in the world around you. The outdoor space is one which can empower and strengthen people — but it can only truly do so if we work to make sure the space is inclusive and diverse. The mission of the Paden Institute aligns perfectly with this goal.”

Godesky learned about the Essex-based retreat from another athlete that she coaches.

“I have been training her to climb the High Peaks as well,” she said.

“She's doing it not in three days. She started training for about a year ago while I was preparing for it, too. We were both just interested in the history of the land and why the peaks are called who they're named after. And why there's only two women that they are named after and who are those women?”

The athletes read “Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks.”

“I was actually sitting in a tent in the Adirondacks on a little training trip a couple of months ago and came to Alice's story in that book,” Godesky said.

“The stories that I had read through that book and the other books had really been inspiring to me and just part of the reason why I wanted to keep going back, exploring and climbing the different mountains.

“When I read about the writer's cottage I just felt that what a great idea of how to inspire people to to get to the Adirondacks, to maybe write about it, tell others about about it, and more importantly to help get people of color to that place because the outdoors space definitely needs to be diversified a good bit and we can do a lot more to make it more inclusive.”


Going in to this project, she has climbed 35 of the 46 High Peaks.

Her training has consisted of a lot of hiking.

“Training your stomach is a big part of it, too,” she said.

“It's one thing to make it through one long day of hiking but to be able to recover after very little sleep. I will probably only get about three hours of sleep a night.”

That will be in a car or camping on a trail at night.

“It's not going to be great sleep, so you really need to be able to eat a lot to keep your energy levels consistent and keep you strong through the whole thing,” she said.

“That side of the training is just as important to me as the physical side. The physical side is going to be very hard. In training, I did as many hard things as I could whether that's long days of running, longs days of hiking, hiking with a weight vest on, even, I am a triathlete, so I mixed swimming and biking in there, too. It's just been a lot of practices. Getting to that point mentally, where you have to practice pushing through the hard time. It gets easier again on the other side eventually”

The Long Trail versus the High Peaks is remote versus seeing friendly faces on the trail

“We obviously need to be careful with the COVID precautions, but it will be fun to have friendly faces out there in the days when I'm really tired,” Godesky said.

“In training, everyone I've met along the way has been just nice, supportive and encouraging. It will be nice to have that aspect of it out as well.

“I'm hoping to finish by Thursday evening.”

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