Karen Holland’s 900-Kilometer Bruce Trail FKT Adventure: The Gear + The Plan

by | Sep 2, 2021 | Lifestyle

At Consummate Athlete HQ, you know we love a big scary goal. So we are super excited that we’re able to help support our friend Karen for a few days as she attempts one of the biggest, scariest goals ever: the Bruce Trail FKT in Ontario, Canada. She’s starting this week, and we wanted to share some details about her run, the gear she’s using, and how people can follow along. And tune in for more follow-ups from the crew side of things, a look inside the van, and of course, a podcast episode once she finishes!

The Goal:

Karen Holland will be running all 900km of the Bruce Trail starting September 3rd, 2021. Her hope is to create awareness and encourage people to get out and explore this incredible trail that is right in our Ontario backyard.

“I think the biggest part of the challenge for me is seeing what the body and, more importantly, the mind can accomplish,” she says. She’s done 100-mile races and multi-day adventures in the past, but this will be her biggest challenge yet.

You can follow along daily on her tracker and on her Instagram, @hollandontherun

Donate today and ensure that the precious Niagara escarpment can be enjoyed for years to come! Help preserve ribbons of the wilderness by donating to THE BRUCE TRAIL CONSERVANCY: Donate here

Follow the Run:


What Karen’s Using

**We’ll update this list as the run goes on, since we know there are a lot of questions about the gear that goes into adventures like these! Karen’s using gear that she’s been testing for years and that has stood up to thousands of kilometers of trail running, so you know the suggestions on here are fantastic.

Snacks & Packs

  • Nathan Pinnacle Hydration Vest: With 12 liter capacity, this pack can go for miles between refills. (She’ll also swap out for other Nathan pack options, like the smaller VaporHowe, in order to change the spots that are being pressured on her back throughout the day.)
  • Tailwind: The high-calorie carbohydrate powder tastes pretty darn light but packs a higher calorie punch than your average sports drink.
  • Tailwind Rebuild Recovery: Carbs + protein for mid-day run breaks to recharge and refuel
  • Vega Protein Powder: For post-run recovery, protein is critical in situations like this and Karen stocked up on Vega protein powder.
  • Real food: Karen makes a lot of her own run food, so lots of date balls and bars will be put to use on the trail, along with some more standard trail snack options like Mars Bars, Rice Krispy Treats, and pretty much whatever sounds palatable throughout the day.
  • Bananas: Yep, they get their own category, they’re that critical to Karen’s daily running meal plan. “I could eat five a day. Or more.” she says.

Apparel & Shoes

  • Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 Shoe: The superlight trail shoe from Arc’teryx is breathable and has Vibram rubber soles designed for serious trail running  (check them out here)
  • Arc’teryx Quadra Long Sleeve: Long sleeve, lightweight running shirts are optimal for situations like this, where Karen’s going to be wearing a hydration pack for hours every day, running through heavily wooded areas with plenty of thorns and other scratchy leaves, not to mention being in the sun for hours at a time. Because of this, sleeveless shirts won’t be the best choice—long sleeves are more protective and the fabric fully covers her back, which means less chafing issues. The Quadra is the perfect blend of full coverage but ultimate breathability.
  • Karen may also jump into a pair of Luna sandals for hiking sections for a bit of bonus relief after a few 100+ km days on the trail. She also has Altra trail runners that she’ll shift into when other sneakers are wet or she needs to change things up: with 9 x 100+ kilometer days, it’s critical to shift to avoid tiny pressure points becoming major problems. No one pair of shoes can make it the whole way!
  • Goodr Sunglasses: Inexpensive, simple, and stay in place—what’s not to love?
  • Arc’teryx beanie: Despite still being summer, it’s getting chilly at night and early in the morning, and covering your head can make a major difference.
  • Arc’teryx Venta Mittens: Again, ready for the chilly evenings and mornings!


  • Squirrel Nut Butter: Chafing happens to pretty much anyone running this kind of volume, but Squirrel Nut Butter is easy to apply and helps avoid friction anywhere. From between toes to underarms to thighs, it’s going to be super helpful. (It’s available as a stick or a cream, so choose the one that’s easiest to apply in the areas you tend to need it most.)
  • Garmin InReach: Karen is using an InReach for tracking
  • Suunto Ambit3 Peak: Great battery life and GPS tracking, this burly watch is capable of handling a full day of running.
  • Rechargeable headlamp: Fenix HL60R Headlamp (rechargeable was a must when doing 9 days in a row.)
  • Buff: Whether you’re trying to keep sweat off your face, keep your neck warm, or need an emergency mask, you can’t do a run like this without a buff!
  • Running poles: Karen is using the trusty Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles


Want to plan your own adventure? Check out Becoming A Consummate Athlete, right here:


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