This Sunday, a film documenting the fastest known times (FKTs) that John Kelly and Damian Hall ran in July on Britain’s 431K Pennine Way will premiere at the online Kendal Mountain Festival, and tickets are still available. Before Kelly ran his record-breaking time of two days, 16 hours, 40 minutes, the FKT had stood for 31 years. Not even two full weeks after Kelly’s run, though, Hall took a shot at the route, lowering the record to 2:13:34. This documentary, called Totally FKT, follows the runs of both men and their friendly rivalry. In addition to the screening, there will be a Q&A with Kelly, Hall and the filmmakers.
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Hall versus Kelly
The Pennine Way starts in Edale, a small town in central England, and works north, over the border into Scotland, where it finishes in Kirk Yetholm. The previous FKT for the route was set in 1989 by British fell running legend Mike Hartley. He ran the Pennine Way in two days, 17 hours and 20 minutes, which Kelly only just managed to beat, finishing 40 minutes quicker. Nine days later, Hall beat both Hartley’s and Kelly’s results by hours to set the current route record.
The Pennine Way FKT was definitely a big milestone for both Kelly and Hall, but it’s hardly the first major accomplishment of either runner’s career. Kelly is the most recent finisher of the Barkley Marathons (a feat he ran in 2017), the owner of five other FKTs (one of which is the brutal 300K Grand Round that he completed in August) and a top finisher at many other trail and ultra events. Hall, t00, owns five other FKTs, he has three top-20 finishes at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (and one top-five result from 2018) and, like Kelly, a long list of other big results. Both men have had tremendous careers so far, and adding their rivalry into the mix should make for a great film.