The FKT for the 142 mile Horse-Shoe Trail across southeastern PA is 32 Hours, 43 Minutes, 14 Seconds. This time was set by Dan Rose on November 7-8, 2009. This run was made in self-supported fashion (a 20-pound pack was carried throughout, but 3 stops were made along the way to purchase additional food when the trail passed through towns).
Dan Rose ran the trail self-supported on November 7-8, 2009, in a time of 32h43m14s. Rose ran west-to-east, starting at the intersection with the AT, on Stony Mountain, which is a 3-mile hike from the nearest road. He figured it would be safer for a solo runner to do the most remote portion of the trail first. He carried a 20 lb pack, took water from streams and hoses, and resupplied at a couple of mini-marts and a restaurant along the way. A friend ran with Rose for the last 15 miles. His report details his experience, and is an entertaining read. Rose had some difficulty with route finding in a couple of spots, resulting in several extra miles. His quoted time is for the HST proper (not car-to-car).
While 95% of the trail is well-marked, the official maps are hand-drawn and wildly out-of-date in terms of re-routed sections and new road developments. They don't show any crossing trails (and trust me, there are many), and they list only a small percentage of cross streets. If you lose the trail at all, it can be tremendously difficult to find it again. You'll be OK if you carry a compass, the guide book (which has a trail update sheet included in it every year), and the creativity to invent hundreds of new curse words while you wander helplessly up and down the trails and country roads. That last part is very important for your sanity: If you just end up using the same swears over and over, you'll just bore yourself. Trust me, I speak from experience. -- Dan Rose
Maps were updated in 2011 with nice digitally produced topos. Reroutes do continue to be an issue as the trail is sometimes forced to move when a landowner decides they no longer want us on their property, or when we find a new route that eliminates some road miles. Reroutes are posted to HST website at hstrail.org
I plan a thru-run of The Horse Shoe Trail May 22nd, 2015. Even though I in no way believe that I could challenge Dan Rose's existing record, a friend suggested I post here because I'll be going the opposite direction than he went. And although it counts for nothing, I'm also considerably older than Dan was when he set the record. I have great respect for Dan Rose and appreciate the tips he's provided to me via email. My hat is definitely off to him and his FKT.
I will be attempting a thru-run of the HST starting Saturday, April 23, heading west to east. I'll be running solo. I'll be re-supplying along the way like Dan did - after reading his account, I absolutely have to stop at the Pretzel Hut! My parents may meet me at one stop along the way. I don't have a blog, so am not sure of the best way to announce this attempt other than post it here. I would also like to echo Perry's sentiments that Dan has been very supportive and helpful with all my questions. Hershey kisses here we go!!