FKT Fever: Chaski Ladies Crushing it on the Trails

Updated: Jul 28

Two of our Chaski coaches and elite athletes, Devon Yanko and Ashley Brasovan aren’t letting the lack of organized races get in the way of a good time. No way – these awesome ladies are making their own fun out on the trails and taking down FKT’s like nobody’s business.

Devon is already well-established in the Ultra world, with a first place finish at Leadville in 2017 and a fifth place at Comrades in 2012, but Ashley is just starting to dip her toes in that world after a long and successful career on the track and roads.

Devon tackled the East Bay Skyline in San Francisco – a 32.5 mile jaunt – on the end of an incredible 10-day stretch averaging over 30 miles a day. She was going for the unsupported record, and ended up crushing that while tying the supported record as well.

Meanwhile, out in Colorado, Ashley went for the FKT on the stunning 4 Pass Loop, which traverses over 27 miles through the Rocky Mountains and climbs over four 12,000-foot passes.

We caught up with the ladies as they recovered, and they were excited to reflect on their epic runs.

Note - both Devon and Ashley are leaders of Camp Chaski and are taking on new athletes if you're looking for a coach!

Devon's Thoughts

Team Chaski: Unlike Ashley, this was not your first ultra, not even your first ultra of the week. This was your 10th ultra in 10 days if I understand it correctly. First question - why not go for the FKT on day one instead of day 10?

Devon: The first four days I was in Tahoe, so not near where the trail was for the FKT. I didn’t actually consider doing the FKT until almost day 10. I actually had a different plan all together that didn’t include the FKT, but at the last minute, I was feeling strong so decided to go after the unsupported record at least. I thought it was a fun way to challenge myself.

Team Chaski: This might be a stupid question, but do you think those previous nine days did any mental/physical hardening that actually made it easier than doing it relatively fresh? Was it easier knowing that there was no day 11? 

It was definitely easier knowing there was no day 11. I didn’t have to save anything in the tank, so as I was getting into the final miles I was able to say “screw it” and push it in a way I might not have if there were more days left. I do think the previous nine days helped because I had gone through so many different mental and physical highs and lows and made it through, so it made me confident that even if my legs felt trashed or I was tired, neither of which happened, that I would be able to go the distance.

Team Chaski: What was your favorite moment from the day? 

After I was done, being told by the overall/supported record holder that I had actually tied her record (in addition to obliterating the unsupported record). Also the sunrise over the whole bay was on point.

Team Chaski: What were the most challenging parts, physically and mentally? 

I took a nasty slip down French Trail and tweaked my Achilles and knee. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to finish the trail, let alone break the FKT. I had to overcome the urge to quit or feel sorry for myself.

Team Chaski: What/how much did you eat? 

Not a ton actually. A few GU products, gels, chomps, roctane and one red bull. Water. 

Team Chaski: You just barely broke the supported FKT - tell us a bit about the experience being so close at the end. 

I beat the unsupported record by almost an hour. I actually tied the overall/supported record. I was unfamiliar with the route previously and was following the blue dot on Strava and hand written directions. As I was closing in on the final miles, I thought I was about 3-4 mins off the overall record, but I was fine with that because I was unsupported and with the fall and the way finding errors I had resigned myself to the unsupported record only. As I neared the finish the app indicated I was closer than my watch said I should be, I sped up as much as I could to the finish, but actually thought I had missed the overall record by the time I hit stop. Thankfully, Lucy (the supported record holder) told me on Strava that I had run exactly the same time as her. How crazy is that?

Team Chaski: We've talked a lot about saying "yes" to random stuff in 2020. What's next for you? Do you have any other big projects you want to tackle? 

I am trying to figure out what is next. After feeling so awesome for 10 days of running (327 total miles), I am eager to find something to take on. I just haven’t figured it out yet. Right now my biggest project is just eating all the things and resting up for the next big ad