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The battle for the 111K Gatineau Park FKT

The route through the federal park was only recently added to the official FKT website, but it's already gaining popularity among local runners

Photo by: Strava/Eric Deshaies

On October 16, fastestknowntime.com—the official database of FKTs—added a new route to the website: the Gatineau Park Perimeter Loop. This 111K trek features 3,200m of climbing, and it takes runners around the federal park in Gatineau, Que., near Ottawa. As detailed on the FKT website, the route features “numerous great vistas of the city and Ottawa River, along with numerous beautiful lakes in the northern interior of the park.” Despite being so new, the loop’s FKT has already been broken twice, with Gatineau’s Eric Deshaies running the initial record and Guy Doiron of Ottawa lowering the mark shortly after. 

Gatineau Park Marathon
A shot from the Gatineau Park Marathon. Photo: Bojan Uzicanin

A new FKT to chase 

While the Gatineau Park Marathon (pictured above) takes place on the roads of the park, the Gatineau Park Perimeter Loop (which starts and finishes at the park’s visitors’ centre) follows a number of trails. Deshaies actually ran his loop of the park two weeks before the FKT was made official and added to the database. He covered the distance in 17:30:36, which, considering the up-down nature of the route and its sheer length, is an impressive run. A couple of weeks after Deshaies’s run, Doiron tackled the 111K route and posted a time of 15:56:15, bettering Doiron’s time by an hour and a half. 

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This is the first FKT for either man, but Deshaies and Doiron both have plenty of experience with ultrarunning. In 2018, Deshaies was the top Canadian at the Moab 240 in Utah, finishing the 380K race in a little over 75 hours for sixth place overall. He has also raced the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) in France, the Tor des Géants in Italy and the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, along with many other ultramarathons and races. Doiron has also raced the UTMB and Tor des Géants, and earlier in 2020, he finished in 22nd at the only Canadian race on the Ultra-Trail World Tour, the 125K Ultra-Trail Harricana in Quebec. 

Something to note 

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As their results indicate, Deshaies and Doiron are two great athletes, and they’re capable of running some quick races. But FKTs aren’t just for elites, nor do they need to be ultra-distances. You might not have the speed or endurance to challenge Doiron’s Gatineau Loop record or some of the other more popular FKTs out there, but anyone can submit routes to fastestknowntime.com.

RELATED: Ultrarunner sets FKT on 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail

The website has a list of FKT guidelines, most notably that a new route should be “distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it” and that routes can any distance, although “anything less than five miles long or with less than 500 feet of climbing would have to be special.” So go and submit your routes to see if they’ll be made official. But just be sure to run your own time first so you get your name in the FKT record books — even if only for a short while.