Trail runner praised for honesty after admitting FKT error

Gary Robbins takes to social media after realising his Howe Sound Crest Trail mistake in 2014

While doping cheats in the realm of road and track continue to harm the reputation of world-class running, one top trail runner has been gaining plaudits for his honesty.

Canadian Gary Robbins announced on Twitter and Instagram yesterday (see below) that he had discovered his supposed fastest-known time for the Howe Sound Crest Trail in 2014 was illegitimate.

When revisiting the trail again last weekend he realised he had inadvertently missed a section of the 28km route on his 3h45 30s feat four years ago.

It had been surpassed anyway by Mike Murphy, who clocked 3h44 in 2016, but Robbins was keen to put the record straight, even though the wrong turn may not have cut off any distance.

“I came to the unfortunate realization yesterday, that I never actually legitimately set the Howe Sound Crest Trail FKT back in 2014. I thought I knew the route intimately, but it turns out I made a mistake & missed a section at Unnecessary Mtn,” he began on Instagram before adding that his detour reduced the climb.

He added: “Eric Carter & Nick Elson held the FKT at that point in 3h51m, & I must apologize to all of them for this error.”

Robbins, who completed the most loops at this year’s edition of the legendary Barkley Marathons, has taken on the route seven times and he says that he also went wrong on the efforts either side of his FKT.

“This leaves a bit of a pit in my stomach, not only because I compromised a record but also because I was pretty damn fit & motivated that day, & it would've been nice to have an accurate comparison to my peers whom I all deeply respect,” he wrote.

Among the many replies commending Robbins for his announcement, Elson wrote: “I appreciate the honesty since really all that matters with these things is that you're honest about what you did. To my mind you still ran the HSCT which I think should be defined broadly enough to include such minor variations.”

The Howe Sound Crest Trail goes from Cypress Bowl to Porteau Cove near Vancouver, involves 1830m of ascent and 2600m of descent.

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I came to the unfortunate realization yesterday, that I never actually legitimately set the Howe Sound Crest Trail FKT back in 2014. I thought I knew the route intimately, but it turns out I made a mistake & missed a section at Unnecessary Mtn. This doesn't really short distance, but it does short some climbing. I don't know what the time savings may or may not be, but no less, I messed up the prescribed route & my time should be disqualified. Thankfully Mike Murphy has since bettered my time on that day, so it's not the standing FKT, but no less, it will need to be scrubbed from the historical records. Eric Carter & Nick Elson held the FKT at that point in 3h51m, & I must apologize to all of them for this error. They're all friends of mine & I know no one will be too upset, but Murph worked his tail of to better my 3h45m time & if I'm not mistaken he did surpass Nick & Eric's time a few times... meaning he now has the two fastest efforts & he should never have had to run it that additional time. Sorry guys, I messed up. Murph, I think I owe you some gas money & a beer. Long story short, while doing the trail with Linda yesterday I recognized that I was on a section I definitely did not cover 4 years ago while attempting the FKT. I have now covered the HSCT 7 times (in 11 years) & I know I've done the proper full route 4 times. My first 3 crossings, & yesterday, but somewhere along the way I detoured onto a side trail & inadvertently started skipping a small section of the true route on my 4th, 5th (fkt attempt) & 6th crossings. I've looked back through my gps run files, which go back to 2009 which was my 3d time, & from there through to yesterday you can clearly see my consistent error. This leaves a bit of a pit in my stomach, not only because I compromised a record but also because I was pretty damn fit & motivated that day, & it would've been nice to have an accurate comparison to my peers whom I all deeply respect. To any service that keeps these records & shows the previous FKT holder (Peter Bakwin & Karl Woll are two that immediately come to mind) continued in the first comment below

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