A 27-year-old British man has become the fastest person to complete the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as a self-supported athlete, completing the 2,600-mile hike from Mexico to Canada in just 55 days.
On Sunday, August 6th at 8:56 pm, Josh Perry reached the Canadian border, finishing the PCT in record time and creating a brand-new Fastest Known Time (FKT) on one of America’s most famous trails. His official time of 55 days, 16 hours, and 54 minutes crushed Scott Williamson’s previous record by 10 days.
Beating the PCT’s FKT doesn’t mean Perry holds the official record. That record is held by Adidas-sponsored ultra-runner Timothy Olson, who beat the record in 2021 when he was followed by a sports medicine team and slept most nights in a roadside RV. Perry fell short of Olson’s record by just four days.
There is a big difference between being sponsored and self-supported. Perry had to mail himself new shoes along the way, emerging out of the wilderness and into towns to pick them up. He also camped much of the way, having to set up and break down camp day-in and day-out. Falling just short of Olson’s sponsored record is a true accomplishment in itself.
In the first stretch of the trek, Perry’s largest obstacle in his mind was the state of wildfires. Attempting to get through the 1,700 miles of California without being detoured by wildfire, he moved at an astonishing rate. He made it through California in 34 days, 3 hours and 59 minutes, sleeping just six hours a night and jogging through much of the state.
With wildfires plaguing much of the PCT through Northern California and Southern Oregon, the trail has become more difficult to hike in recent years. In fact, Perry had to take an alternate route in Oregon due to trail closures from the 2020 Lionshead Fire. He created a route that was similar to the PCT trails, which was accepted by the Fastest Known Time organization. Until this year, the PCT was known as a “Premier Route” along with the Appalachian Trail, Wonderland Trail, and Colorado Trail. Now, fire closures have made it difficult to decipher records.
Perry also holds self-supported FKTs on Vermont’s Long Trail and the Arizona Trail. But his new feat on the PCT is undoubtedly his most accomplished.