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Ultrarunning world champion sets FKT on 660K trail in Jordan

Amy Sproston's eight-day run beat the Jordan Trail record by more than 24 hours

Photo by: Instagram/amysproston

Former IAU 100K world champion Amy Sproston of the U.S. ran a new fastest known time (FKT) on the 662K Jordan Trail. The trail runs straight through Jordan, from Umm Qais, a city near the country’s northern borders with Israel and Syria, to the southern port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. The previous record was set by British ultrarunners Daniel Lawson and Robbie Britton in 2019, when they completed the route in nine days, 10 hours and 14 minutes. Sproston (who now lives in Jordan’s capital city of Amman) crushed that record, covering the 662K cross-country run in eight days, nine hours and 28 minutes, a full day faster than the Brits. 

Running the Jordan Trail 

Sproston was supposed to run the 330K Tor des Géants in Italy in September (a race in which she placed 12th in 2019), until it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Looking for another way to put her accumulated fitness to the test, she decided to double up on the distance and tackle the Jordan Trail. With her run, she became the first woman to run the entire trail, which — according to her post-run report on the official FKT website — she hopes will inspire other local athletes in Jordan (and especially women) to “take on big adventures and set bold goals.” 

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As shown on her Strava page, Sproston started her FKT attempt on September 25. After 89K of running to kick off the challenge, this was her longest day of the week. She ran at least 63K every other day, with a 64K run to reach the finish line in Aqaba on October 3. 

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Starting early on Friday morning I'm going after an FKT on the Jordan Trail, a 650km+ route traversing the length of Jordan. The adventure begins in Um Qais and, inshallah, will spit me out in the Red Sea in the south sometime the next weekend. The trail traverses diverse landscapes with incredible vistas, from the rolling hills of the north, the rugged wadis and cliffs overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley, the rose rocks of Petra, the moonscapes of Wadi Rum, and finally the crystal waters of the Red Sea. Largely unmarked and very diverse in surface, from pavement to off-trail scrambling, it will be an adventure in navigation, among many other things. If all goes according to plan, I'll hope to pass by the Monastery (pictured here) in Petra on Day 6. I've got an incredible crew helping me out and am forever indebted to @moerazem @runningamman @treksjo @visitjordan @alibstudios @jordan_trail and countless others who I'll share more on later. The current FKT is 9 days 10 hours and change held by @ultrabritton and @therunningdan ; there is not yet a women's time (although many women have completed the hike). To follow along @runningamman will be posting updates on Instagram (and I will also when possible). Also I'll be posting daily mileage on @strava #jordantrail #jordantourism #visitjordan #explorelocal #venturelocally #JordanTrailFKT #findyourtrail #fkt #trailtherapy #discoverjo #petra #trailrunning #runners_of_insta #runlikeasquirrel #MyJordanJourney #breakingbarriers #trailsisters #fueledbybaklava

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One success of many 

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Sproston’s accomplishment in Jordan is a big one, and as she said in an Instagram post after completing the run, it will be “a hard one to top.” Success in ultrarunning isn’t new to her, though, and in addition to her win at the 100K world championships in 2012, she has recorded many impressive and quick results in her career. She got into the world of ultrarunning in 2006, and she found success pretty early on. In her first race, a 50-miler, she was the eighth woman across the line. Just a few months later, she won a 50K race in Maryland, and five weeks after that, she won a 50-miler in Virginia. 

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Since then, she has posted four top-10 runs at the Western States 100 (with two podium finishes), two top-10s at the UTMB and many other wins and podium performances at races around the world. Her run in Jordan is her first official FKT, but her massive success in the Middle East is a sign that it probably won’t be her last.