Race: Blue Hills Skyline Trail double out and back FKT

Runner: Keith Nadeau

Race Date: 5/08/2021

Location: Blue Hills Reservation, MA

Results: 5:25:43

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/tlHx5zMz7fb

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Double Out and Back FKT Trip Report

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

The scenery, terrain, and location are my 3 favorites. Beautiful views all along the way and you can see the Boston skyline from a few spots. The terrain is super challenging for most of the trail and is amazing that something so close to Boston can be so tough. The location is perfect for me as I can go do this in the morning and be home before noon! It is perfect training for running in New Hampshire’s mountains while not having to do the long drive.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The idea of running the same trail 4 times is not the best, but I think it is good training for loop style races. I prefer course that are point to point or looped so that you get new scenery the whole time.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The weirdest part is that technically it is a point to point trail, but in the middle there is a separate North and South section. For this FKT you have to do both trails each out and back, but also reverse the order for the second out and back.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I managed my effort all day better than ever before. It’s so hard to push this hard while still being smart and I think for the most part I nailed it this time around. I was flying on the flats and downhill, but right from the start made sure not to kill myself on the ups. This made it so that even nearing the end I was still moving well on the ups and only a little slower than the start.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Practice this course! Since my last FKT run over a year ago I spent a lot of time on these trails learning the ins and outs. It’s incredible how far course knowledge can take you on a race effort.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

This run broke through mental and physical barriers for me. I learned mostly to not limit perceived ability to what is comfortable or that you know you can achieve. Last year I maxed out at 6 hours and 30 minutes, and going into this I thought maybe I could go under 5 hours and 40 minutes but the thought of that was hard to conceive. It is during these efforts that we can become the runner we dream of and that all starts in the mind and believing it’s possible. I stayed in the moment and got into a different headspace than ever before.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course is gnarly! Over 8k climbing in the 30 miles and almost all of the trail is filled with large and medium sized rocks/roots. Very important to be confident running fast over technical terrain and holding that focus from start to finish. It becomes mentally exhausting towards the end and thats where you need to be most careful.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The course moves across the Blue Hills just south of Boston. Many great views and scenery to take in along the way. You can easily feel very remote until you pop out to see the skyline and realize where you actually are. It’s amazing that this place exists and is reserved for us to play in.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

For 30 miles this feels hard. The climbing and terrain make this very tough!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Partly why I love these FKT efforts is the flexibility. You can choose the perfect day and start whenever you want. This day was perfect being around 50 degrees and overcast so it wasn’t too hot. It was on a Saturday however so I ran into multiple large groups that I made sure to stay respectful of. It’s easy to forget you are on a trail being used by others and it’s important to give people space and not just run straight through.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

This has seen much more attention recently and this is the 7th lowered time on the FKT site. I’m hoping the locals will go back out to try and better this time soon!

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Go whenever you want! It’s always open!

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Since it is a double out and back, it is perfect for a single re-supply mid way.

Weather and typical race conditions

This day was close to perfect. Not many bugs yet, surprisingly dry, and cool temps. One of the rare days of the year where this trail is fastest.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

I went very minimal for this in hopes that I would feel free and light. I used 2 x .5 liter handheld bottles, one with water and the other with cherry nuun tabs. I wore a Nathan waist belt and had in it my phone, Gu’s, honey stinger waffles, and honey stinger gummies. Other than that I wore some aftershocks headphones with good tunes on the whole time from my phone. This was much better I thought than wearing a full kit for such a hard effort.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

I ran by a few people I knew on this run, and let them know I’d love to stop and chat but didn’t have the time. You can easily do sections of this trail from many different parking spots which is very cool.

How’s the Swag?

No swag 🙁

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I rate this a solid 6/10 with trying to have a non biased perspective. This course and FKT mean a lot to me personally so in that sense I give it a 10/10, but for someone without that background I think it’s still a great FKT route and/or training run for other races and adventures.

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Double Out and Back FKT Trip Report