Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Endurance Athlete Sunny Stroeer Sets New Speed Record on Annapurna Circuit

Remember Sunny Stroeer? She's the mountain runner that I wrote about way back in February when she set a new speed record on Aconcagua, topping out on that mountain in just 8 hours, 47 minutes. It seems Sunny is up to her old tricks once again, although now she's setting speed records in an entirely different part of the world.

Stroeer has just completed the iconic Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, setting a new "Fastest Known Time" in the process. The previous mark was established in September of 2016 by Patrica Franco and stood at 4 days 14 hours and 45 minutes. Sunny was able to beat that time by more than 15 hours, completing the route in 3 days, 23 hours, and 39 minutes.

The GPS tracking from Stroeer's Garmin and Suunto Watch shows that she covered 219 km (136 miles) over the time period, racking up 10,300 meters (33,792 ft) of vertical gain, and an additional 10,000 meters (32,808 ft) of descent, giver or take a few meters. Impressive numbers to say the least, particularly at the sub-4 day pace.

Sunny tells me that she hadn't intended to run the Annapurna Circuit when she set out on the course. She was actually in Nepal to lead an all-female climbing team on Mera Peak in October and November. After that expedition wrapped up, she found herself with some spare time on her hands, so she decided to scout the trail starting last Wednesday, November 15. But, as she began her scouting mission, she realized that she was already moving at a rapid pace and elected to go ahead and chase the record. The results speak for themselves.

Stroeer is quick to point out that while she was solo on this speed run, she did not go unsupported. She ate at Nepali tea houses along the way and stocked up on trail snacks in the villages she passed on the route. That meant she had to carry fewer items in her backpack and could resupply as needed. Still for a spontaneous run that was started as a mere opportunity to check out the trail but ended in a new FKT, her dedication and determination are definitely an inspiration.

This is the latest in a string of impressive FKT's or speed records that we've seen this year. Endurance athletes from all over the planet continue to push the limits of what we think the human body is capable of, and I never fail to be amazed at the accomplishments of these men and women. This year alone we've seen speed records on big mountains and tough trails in every corner of the planet, and something tells me this trend isn't going to end soon.

The new record holder for the Annapurna Circuit plans on writing a post for her own blog sharing more details and her thoughts on the run. You'll be able to find that on her website in the near future.
Congrats to Sunny on a job well done.

The video below is from a video journal she produced en route as she crossed the ThorongLa Pass, the high point of the route.

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