It’s fair to say that Timothy Olson, adidas TERREX ultrarunner and climate activist, has been building up to a Fastest Known Time (FKT) attempt on the PCT his entire life.
Having spent years dominating the competitive trail running circuit, culminating in two 1st place finishes at the Western States 100-mile race and at one point even holding the course record, Timothy decided to focus his efforts on running ultra-distance trails faster than anyone else in history.
Spending time in nature and connecting with the environment is central to Timothy’s philosophy as a runner, and what sets him apart from his competitors is how he channels the practices of mindfulness and meditation into his running, allowing him to push his body to the limit day after day.
TO ME – MINDFULNESS IN RUNNING IS BEING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. BEING AWARE OF YOUR BODY, YOUR BREATH, YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND JUST NOTICING. AND WHILE YOU NOTICE YOUR SURROUNDINGS, YOU CAN LISTEN MORE TO HOW YOUR BODY IS FEELING AND CHECK-IN WITH YOURSELF. THE MORE YOU’RE MINDFUL WITH YOUR BODY, THE MORE YOU CAN SETTLE INTO THIS FLOW-STATE AND PUSH YOURSELF.– Timothy Olson
Extending 2,650 miles from the US-Mexico border to Canada, the PCT is the most iconic footpath in the United States and beyond.
Its notoriety lies not only in being the second longest footpath in America, but also in its route through some of the most epic terrain that North America has to offer – comparable only to the Appalachian Trail, part of the National Scenic Trails group of protected recreational land.
The PCT has always held a special connection for Timothy, with there being sections that he could access from his house in Ashland, Oregon, where he began his trail running career.
The trails starts in the arid Mexican borderlands of California, where water supplies are scarce and scorching temperatures mean that hikers often have to walk at night and take shelter in the heat of the day, before moving through the glaciated expanses of the Sierra Nevada followed by the granite monoliths of Yosemite National Park.
As the trail winds through the dense forests of Oregon, it skirts several active volcanoes, most notably Mount Hood – Oregon’s largest – before reaching the famed ‘Bridge of the Gods’ and entering Washington.
FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF MY TRAIL RUNNING CAREER, I WANTED TO RUN THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL (PCT). IT’S A PART OF MY HEART, AND FINALLY I’VE REACHED THE STAGE WHERE I WANT TO DO THE WHOLE THING.Timothy Olson
From there, the rugged peaks and alpine lakes of the Northern Cascades offer some of the most breathtaking scenery on the PCT, however this final section of the trail leading to the northern terminus has an extremely high level of precipitation, resulting in wet conditions and perennial snowfields, which present their own logistical challenges for those trying to navigate the trail.
It goes without saying that this attempt is by no means a solo effort – Timothy has a dedicated support crew following him north, comprised of his wife (who is pregnant with their third child) and two kids, his coach and general logistics mastermind Jason Koop.
Whilst on the trail, there is limited access to food and water, therefore Tim’s team will be intercepting him at various points along the way to make sure he is taking on enough nutrition to keep his body performing at an elite level.
The emotional support that having his family and friends along for the journey provides will also be key to his success, due to the sheer mental fatigue of such a mammoth challenge.
Beyond the physical and logistical challenges that conquering the entire length of the PCT presents, choosing the correct apparel and equipment is also a must, as the trail meanders through a vast array of climates that will put your gear to the test.
Timothy’s main shoe for the 52 days will be the adidas TERREX Speed Ultra, designed with cruising over long- distance, rugged terrain at high speed in mind.
To avoid repetitive strain on his feet, he will also integrate other TERREX models into his routine, some days opting for the highly cushioned TERREX Two Parley, and on others the TERREX Agravic Boa, which he likes for the ease of adjustment.
In terms of apparel, the Agravic Pro range will be an essential element of his kit choice, providing him with optimum balance of breathability and protection from the huge variety of conditions he is likely to endure on his journey north.
Get the TERREX gear Timothy is taking on his quest to run the entire Pacific Crest Trail in the Fastest Known Time at adidas.com/outdoor-trail_running, and make sure you follow @timothyallenolson and @adidasterrex for regular updates.