In 2017, American ultrarunner and running journalist Meghan Hicks ran the fastest known time (FKT) on a route through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado called the Nolan’s 14. Her record of two days, 11 hours and 36 minutes was recently beaten by fellow American Sabrina Stanley, who finished the route eight hours quicker. Stanley didn’t get to enjoy her FKT for long, because Hicks was back on the Nolan’s 14 less than a month later, and she reclaimed the record after finishing the run in two days, two hours and 32 minutes.
Meghan Hicks sets a new women's supported FKT on the Nolan's 14 line in 50:32. (Previous: Sabrina Stanley, 2020, 51:15)
Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell pic.twitter.com/ulichtoE7p
— iRunFar (@iRunFar) September 5, 2020
The Nolan’s 14 is a gruelling challenge, and it reportedly has a success rate of just 15 per cent. It’s not just a matter of completing the route, but finishing before the strict 60-hour cutoff. The route sees athletes run 14 summits of 14,000 feet (4,267m) or higher in the Sawatch Range in the Rockies, and it’s usually about 100 miles in length. The distance can vary (with some routes as short as 88 miles and others as long as 106) because individuals get to choose their own routes between each peak. As long as an athlete summits all 14 mountains in under 60 hours, they are credited with completing the route.
Runners can complete supported runs (meaning they have a team with them to supply them with food, water and anything else they might need) or unsupported runs (the athlete carries all of their own supplies). As was the case when she set her first Nolan’s 14 FKT, Hicks’s run was supported.
Hicks’s running resume
Hicks has one other FKT on a short route in Nevada on Wheeler Peak. This is a 6.4K run with close to a kilometre of elevation gain, and Hicks covered the distance in one hour, 27 minutes and 28 seconds. She is also an accomplished ultrarunner in sanctioned events. She was the top female at the 2013 Marathon des Sables in Morocco, which takes racers 250K through the Sahara Desert, and she has four other top-10 finishes at the race. She also has multiple top-10 finishes at the Hardrock 100 ultramarathon in Colorado, and she has run to many race wins and podium finishes throughout her athletic career.