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Discussion: Barkley Marathons

in: Adventure Racing; General

Mar 27, 2019 2:03 AM # 
Any other fans out there? It's happening at Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee this weekend.

The coverage is extremely low key. Twitter is the best place for info; many fans only visit Twitter for this one weekend each year. The "official" news usually comes from Keith Dunn.

There are occasional tweets from the Barkley Marathons.

Other news and comments: #bm100
Mar 27, 2019 2:11 AM # 
I assume most people here are familiar with the Barkley. If not, here is a quick intro.

The definitive intro is the Barkley Marathons documentary, available in various places, usually for a fee. I'm told it's on Netflix although this page says it might not be available in North America. The film has attracted a lot of new fans to the race.

You can now see Ethan Newberry's excellent film about Canadian ultrarunner Gary Robbins' experience at the Barkley for free.
Mar 27, 2019 2:18 AM # 
The participant list isn't published but eventually the names trickle out. I've just learned that at least two Canadian women will be racing:

Stephanie Case - elite ultrarunner

Morgan Mckay - elite obstacle racer who hired an orienteer to coach her on nav (the race course isn't marked)
Mar 27, 2019 2:21 AM # 
No woman has ever finished the Barkley.

No Canadian has ever finished the Barkley.

Only 15 individuals have ever finished the Barkley, two of them more than once. In many years, there are no finishers.
Mar 27, 2019 2:24 AM # 
per his instagram, Pavel Paloncy (Fenix Multisport) is racing just a few weeks after finishing GodZone.
Mar 27, 2019 2:53 AM # 
Nice to see another familiar name!
Mar 27, 2019 11:15 AM # 
I can't remember if it's real or I dreamt that Benoit Letourneau is going?
Mar 27, 2019 11:33 AM # 
Benoit ran the Barkley Fall Classic and did well. I haven’t heard he’s there but he’s someone who could and should try the Barkley so I’ll keep an eye on his social media! I’ve been wondering if he’s the mystery orienteering coach who helped Morgan Mckay prepare for the race.
Mar 27, 2019 1:45 PM # 
I know broots will be excited about this thread once he's digested his naan and gotten a snooze. We've talked about the Barkley at length and he is fascinated by the thought of seeing how adventure racers might do in the race, given it plays to many of the traditional strengths of adventure racers.

I became familiar with the race through a story I did on John Fegyveresi three days after he finished the race in 2013 (he is the hero of the documentary "The Race that Eats its Young"). For the article I did (this was before the race really had any sort of national recognition, so it was easy to get people on the phone) I also got to interview Brett Maune (the course record-holder), three-time finisher Jared Campbell, and the infamous Lazarus Lake himself. All were funny, insightful, and generous in spending time answering the questions of a young reporter.

That story was a big reason behind why I got into ultrarunning and eventually adventure racing, so the Barkley holds a special place in my heart. But I wouldn't ever be interested in doing it. Laz even asked me if I wanted to apply and I told him no way. (But for anyone reading this, let me know if you're interested and I can steer you towards info on how to apply.)

In subsequent years, as I fell into adventure racing, I have wondered why more ultrarunners don't get into adventure racing. (Does anyone know why Gary Robbins switched sports?) I think the crossover could be huge and trail running is growing so quickly - it could be a great target market for AR.
Mar 27, 2019 2:51 PM # 
Awesome! Glad to find some other fans. The long Twitter watch can be a bit lonely. :)

Gary Robbins’ co-race director, Geoff Langford, used to manage Canada’s largest AR company, and Gary was attending Vancouver orienteering meets regularly to train for the Barkley so he’s still one of us - sort of!

He said this in an interview: “I started running from absolute scratch in 2004 and my initial goal was to complete an expedition length adventure race such as Eco-Challenge. I built a team and we succeeded in completing the 800km long XPD Australia in 2007. During the training for this multi-sport event I found that running gave me the most pleasure and was the most natural discipline for me to pursue. My goals from the start were always to explore my absolute physical limit as an individual and I completed my first ultra marathon, a 67km race, just five months after I started running trails.”
Mar 27, 2019 3:46 PM # 
In my crowd, there’s been a trend of adventure racers (including myself) moving toward ultrarunning rather than the other way around - partly because running is an AR discipline whereas most runners don’t paddle and mountain bike.

I know a few of us started ultrarunning partly because our regular AR teammates had retired, moved, become parents, lost enthusiasm or whatever. Also, logistics are easy when you’re racing alone and traveling only with running gear.
Mar 27, 2019 7:23 PM # 
Silky has indicated on her log that she'll be racing the Barkley Classic this year.

I added my name to the waitlist as we may be moving to the area. We were down in Oak Ridge looking around this past weekend and checked out some property that borders Frozen Head. Pretty neat area.

CPTracker Nationals visited the adjoining Windrock terrain back in 2013.
Mar 27, 2019 7:33 PM # 
“CPTracker Nationals visited the adjoining Windrock terrain back in 2013”- Don’t remind me. It is very rugged terrain I will agree with that.
Mar 27, 2019 8:08 PM # 
I enjoyed this. He did the Barkley.
Mar 28, 2019 12:14 AM # 
As one of the few Barkley finishers, John has lots of credibility when he comments on toughness. (The line "I was urinating dark dirt brown" reminded me of some AR friends.)
Mar 28, 2019 1:33 PM # 
yep i’m in for the 50K in Sept! Brian if you have a camping spot on your land by then let me know !

yes CPT Nats 2013...rugged indeed! :)
Mar 28, 2019 2:16 PM # 
Awesome, Silky! :)
Mar 28, 2019 4:32 PM # 
Silky, I dare you to race it in dress shoes and jeans:
Mar 28, 2019 4:51 PM # 
Oh wow! I always keep my running shoes, hydration bladder, pack and hard-to-replace essentials with me on the plane. This guy's attitude is fantastic.
Mar 28, 2019 4:57 PM # 
Nice Outside profile of Gary Cantrell (aka Lazarus Lake) on the eve of Barkley weekend.
Mar 28, 2019 8:16 PM # 
When did he start letting females in? My teammate always thought poorly of the race and RD for that fact. I also got the impression he thinks a bit much of himself based on the application and execution aspects of the race. All very unsupported thoughts though.
Mar 28, 2019 9:29 PM # 
Ah, you have to understand that the RD is playing a character named Lazarus Lake, and the Barkley involves some theatre and dark humour - which people love.

Yes, Laz has famously said that no woman can finish the Barkley but he only says it to get people up in arms. He absolutely hopes that a woman will finish. He has a not-so-secret heart of gold.

To my knowledge, women have always been allowed to enter the Barkley but they haven't applied in large numbers. If anyone else knows differently, please correct me. The race started in 1986 and the best performance by a woman was in 2001.

Ultrarunning has some talented female stars but the longer, tougher races are predominantly male. When I ran Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, only 8% of the racers were female. In a race like Barkley, which only accepts 40 entrants and has only ever had 15 finishers, it's not surprising there aren't many woman on the start line. Last year there were nine - and none of the men finished either.

Outside did an article on women at the Barkley last year, which Laz dubbed "The Year of the Woman".

And the most recent finisher of the Barkley, John Kelly, wrote this blog post about whether a woman could finish the Barkley. Based on a series of logical and mathematical arguments, he concluded "yes".
Mar 28, 2019 9:37 PM # 
Here's a recent article where Laz speculates that Jasmin Paris could finish the Barkley.
Mar 29, 2019 12:39 AM # 
I’m glad silky is going to the classic, I have wondered why some top tier ultra and AR women don’t compete in the Barkley. Personally it sounds just awful, but think we have some among us that would nail it.
Mar 29, 2019 12:40 AM # 
And Bash, I’m counting on you to find out BL’s status :)
Mar 29, 2019 3:58 AM # 
Benoit and my husband have been messaging over the past couple of days about 'Bent's cool new shoes and whether Benoit should order some online. I'm pretty sure a Barkley runner would be too busy for that! But I'll watch for any news.

Meanwhile, John Kelly (the most recent person to finish the Barkley) has announced that he's going to try again!
Mar 29, 2019 4:24 AM # 
Oooh, and Jared Campbell is back - the only 3-time finisher. Guillaume Calmettes and Jamil Coury are back too.
Mar 29, 2019 11:05 AM # 
Just want to confirm I’m reading it correctly. Jasmin isn’t scheduled to run in 2019, right? Laz just thinks she COULD potentially finish, if she were to run.
Mar 29, 2019 12:44 PM # 
That’s right - unless there’s a surprise coming. One of the reasons so few people have finished is that people who *could* finish don’t necessarily choose to enter. You have to be OK with navigating, getting your skin scratched by thorns and supporting yourself without aid stations (except for a few jugs of water), which means it’s more like AR than ultrarunning.
Mar 29, 2019 2:58 PM # 
Nicky Spinks:
Mar 29, 2019 4:54 PM # 
A fun interview with Laz from 2011:
Mar 29, 2019 8:15 PM # 
Nicky Spinks holds several ultra records in the UK and tough as old boots. Not sure how good her nav will be in that type of terrain though which she’s probably unfamiliar with. It would be great to see her do well.
Mar 29, 2019 9:08 PM # 
Benoit L is still texting with ‘Bent about trail shoes so I think it’s safe to say he’s not doing Barkley!
Mar 29, 2019 9:17 PM # 
The action has begun on Twitter as racers check in and set up camp with their crews. Search for #bm100.
Mar 29, 2019 9:21 PM # 
For anyone new to the Barkley, there is no fixed start time - one of the many ways this race messes with people’s minds. It will start between midnight tonight and noon tomorrow. A conch will be blown in the campground and the race will start one hour after that. The race begins when Laz lights a cigarette.
Mar 29, 2019 10:17 PM # 
A typical Barkley-style tweet from Keith Dunn:

"The weather at FHSP is fantastic. I’m disappointed for the runners. Hopefully things change by tomorrow evening. #BM100"
Mar 29, 2019 11:35 PM # 
while we wait for the conch, check out this article about a similar event in NZ:
Mar 30, 2019 3:08 AM # 
The conch watch begins...
Mar 30, 2019 3:27 AM # 
Lots of Barkley info from Matt Mahoney: Results from past years, race reports, photos, etc.
Mar 30, 2019 11:48 AM # 
No conch as of 7:45 am.
Mar 30, 2019 11:49 AM # 
Direct from Paraguay, Work4justice sent this article talking about many of the known starters.
Mar 30, 2019 12:56 PM # 
Adapted from Twitter: #bm100 conch was blown at 8:23am so the race will start at 9:23.

9:23pm Sat - must have started loop 2 in order to continue

9:23am Sun - must have started loop 3 in order to continue

9:23pm Sun - ...loop 4...

1:23am Mon - Fun Run cutoff, 40hrs

9:23am Mon - ...loop 5...

9:23pm Mon - THE END
Mar 30, 2019 1:50 PM # 
from Lucifer on Twitter:

“Just note that the 12 and 24 hrs are guidance, not cut-offs for 5-loopers; the 36 hrs for 3 loops is, for starting a 4th loop. HS said earlier: you need to be well under 12 hrs on loop 1 to finish. Slowest was in 9:30 timeframe and it was extreme fog & dark start that year”
Mar 30, 2019 5:19 PM # 
Ah, thanks - I should know better than to copy from social media before my coffee! :)
Mar 30, 2019 6:18 PM # 
A few minutes ago: "No one to the tower yet. We’re almost 5 hours in. 5.5 hours was the fastest to the tower last year but the weather is much better this year. "
Mar 30, 2019 6:22 PM # 
The weather might be good now but it looks horrible overnight. For 5 hours, there's 90-100% probability of rain with a chance of thunderstorms. The overnight low is about 5C.

For updated weather, check here.
Mar 30, 2019 6:27 PM # 
Keith Dunn (normally the most reliable source) has muddied the waters by posting different times and calling them cut-offs. In any case, we get the idea. Most racers will be lucky to do one loop!

Corrected cut-off times for #BM100

Loop 1 cutoff: 10:43p Sat
Loop 2 cutoff: 12:03p Sun
Loop 3 cutoff (to continue): 9:23p Sun
Fun Run cutoff: 1:23a Mon
Loop 4 cutoff: 9:23a Mon
Loop 5 cutoff: 9:23p Mon
Mar 30, 2019 6:31 PM # 
I haven't listened to the podcast interview in this article about Ottawa's Morgan Mckay but the few paragraphs of text provide a good glimpse into who she is.
Mar 30, 2019 7:03 PM # 
According to Territorio Trail Media, the top three runners at Rat Jaw on Loop 1 are John Kelly (past finisher), Guillaume Calmettes and Jamil Coury. Click for photos.
Mar 30, 2019 7:34 PM # 
A story on the leaders from Canadian Running Magazine. No word on Jared Campbell.
Mar 30, 2019 8:05 PM # 
Keith Dunn: "The bugle is out."

This means the first runner has returned to camp and dropped out. The bugler plays taps for each racer when they DNF.
Mar 30, 2019 9:21 PM # 
Correction: A runner has dropped out but may not be back in camp yet.
Mar 30, 2019 9:22 PM # 
3-time finisher Jared Campbell is up Rat Jaw but well off the pace. There’s been no word yet of any women arriving there.
Mar 31, 2019 12:35 AM # 
16 people had finished Loop 1 as of 8 pm. John, Guillaume and Jamil are still the top three.
Mar 31, 2019 1:47 AM # 

Rain and freezing temps on the way tonight.
Mar 31, 2019 2:35 AM # 
News on female racers from Twitter (unconfirmed): “Stephanie and Nicky were just over 11:30 fresh, and in good conditions. Figure they started loop 2 around 11:45 into the race.

They have 12:15 to complete loop 2 in the dark, rain, and cold to stay on track for a finish, BUT they have 14:55 to stay on track for a Fun Run.”

It’s not looking good for a first female finish. :(
Mar 31, 2019 3:18 AM # 
Aww, the only 3-time finisher, Jared Campbell, sprained his ankle badly on the first descent. He’s out - but he did finish the first loop.
Mar 31, 2019 3:21 AM # 
“28 runners finished loop 1 within the time limit. Of the 22 started who loop 2, 1 has dropped, leaving 21 in the race.”
Mar 31, 2019 3:27 AM # 
“The rain is really coming down now and the temperature is dropping.”
Mar 31, 2019 3:55 AM # 
“A comparison of the difficulty of the Barkley Fall Classic and the Barkley Marathons: the make winner of the #BFC50k finished loop 1 of the #BM100 with two hours to spare and refused to continue; the female winner of the #BFC50k has not yet returned from loop 1 of the #BM100”
Mar 31, 2019 11:02 AM # 
The rain has turned to sleet and there’s snow at the high points. Stephanie Case and Nicky Spinks have both dropped so there are no women left in the race. John and Guillaume headed out on Loop 3 after taking just over 21 hours to do the first two loops. [Edit: Actually, John did not go out again.] Two runners remain on Loop 1. It is unlikely that anyone will finish this year.
Mar 31, 2019 11:10 AM # 
Informal, incomplete Twitter leaderboard:

Loop 3
#1 John Kelly (8:31 + 12:31)
#2 Guillaume Calmettes (8:32 + 12:39)

Loop 2
#3 Jamil (~8:50)
#4 Karen Sabbe (~9:45)
#5 Greg Hamilton (~9:50)
#6 Mikael Heerman (~10:00)
#7 Johan (~10:20)
#8 Tomokazu (~10:20)
#? Mig
#? Paul Giblin
#? Billy Reid
#? Hisa Thomas (~11:59)
Mar 31, 2019 12:15 PM # 
what’s this about Greg Hamilton being a world rogaine champ? #seenonfacebook in a comment to Sleepmonsters post.
Mar 31, 2019 12:19 PM # 
Interesting! Greg is on Loop 3 after finishing Loop 2 in just over 22 hours, and apparently he looks good. Keith is now saying that John Kelly is in camp. It’s not clear if he ever left on Loop 3; perhaps Twitter jumped to conclusions because he and Guillaume had been racing together. John was quoted as saying that it was hard to run, given the current trail conditions.
Mar 31, 2019 12:29 PM # 
If it’s the same Greg Hamilton, he chose his teammate wisely for the World Rogaining Champs.
Mar 31, 2019 12:29 PM # 
per @Barkley2011FH (Lucifer), John Kelly banked sleep while it was dark/cold. strategic sleep. smart and a good reminder for AR - when it’s crappy,
consider sleeping for a bit (if you can stay warm enough).
Mar 31, 2019 12:30 PM # 
Fingers crossed!
Mar 31, 2019 12:32 PM # 
Most sources spell the Rogaining champion’s name as “Greig” so it’s probably not him.
Mar 31, 2019 1:16 PM # 
John Kelly has just played the bugle himself to tap out after 2 loops. :(
Mar 31, 2019 1:34 PM # 
aw bummer !!

i think grieg/grieg is intentional misdirection.
Mar 31, 2019 2:32 PM # 
From John Kelly on Twitter: Thank you so much for the #BM100 support. Long story short: I quit. I was good on time, felt strong, conditions were (relatively) good. But I know what 5 loops takes, & realized I don't have that motivation anymore. And I was no longer having fun. Sorry for any disappointment.
Mar 31, 2019 2:56 PM # 
“Jamil Coury @JamilCoury has finished loop 2 in 24:21:23. #BM100“
Mar 31, 2019 4:15 PM # 
You’re right, Silky. Keith is now typing “Greig” - and apologized for his earlier misspelling.

From Keith just now:

“6 runners are on loop 3:
Guillaume Calmettes @gcalmettes
Greig Hamilton
Karel Sabbe
Tomokazu Ihara
Johan Steene @Sugrorsmannen
Jamil Coury @JamilCoury
Mar 31, 2019 6:33 PM # 
Keith described Alan Holtz, the last runner on Loop 1 who returned after 26 hours without all his pages, as using the "Roomba method of navigation". :) I think we've all been there.
Mar 31, 2019 6:56 PM # 
Clearly Jamil Coury has the right kind of support crew.

Jamil (at camp after Loop 2): I’ll take a couple minutes this time.
Crew: Didn’t you take enough minutes out there?
Mar 31, 2019 7:27 PM # 
From Keith: "Johan, Tomo, and Jamil have all passed the fire tower on loop 3 (ccw direction)."

From the comments, the top 3 runners may also have passed the fire tower but either no one saw them or nobody posted the sighting to Twitter.
Mar 31, 2019 9:23 PM # 
"Hisayuki Tateno finally comes in from loop 2 and is tapped out."

So now there are just the 6 runners on Loop 3. The cut-off to continue is 9:23 p.m. The cut-off to achieve a Fun Run (3 loops in 40 hrs) is 1:23 a.m.
Mar 31, 2019 10:40 PM # 
In the video clip where Stephanie Case and Nicky Spinks return partway through Loop 2 to tap out, they both say they got cold. Stephanie was emotional. Her legs were good and so was her navigation, but her clothing choices were wrong. She felt bad to be forced to stop by something within her control.
Mar 31, 2019 11:02 PM # 
more research on “Greig”

2017 - mixed champs w Georgia Whitla
2016 - men’s champs w Chris Forne

also there is a major politician in NZ also named Greg Hamilton, so maybe Greig took the opportunity to buy a vowel and avoid a mix up? just speculation on my part.
Mar 31, 2019 11:44 PM # 
There is a Greig on AP who meets this description.
Apr 1, 2019 12:44 AM # 
Yep the Greig on AP is the Greig in question :) Go Greig!!
Apr 1, 2019 12:50 AM # 
When do you make your Barkley debut Georgia?
Apr 1, 2019 1:01 AM # 
Looks like Greig better get a move on to make it out on the next loop. I thought I'd let him give it a go first before I made the trip over.
Apr 1, 2019 1:06 AM # 
"Karel Sabbe and Greig Hamilton have finished loop 3."

They arrived about 20 minutes before the 9:23 pm cut-off to continue. Will they go or will they stop with a Fun Run?
Apr 1, 2019 1:08 AM # 
Where is Guillaume?
Apr 1, 2019 1:20 AM # 
it’s been so obvious all along!! wow!! awesome!! go greig!!
Apr 1, 2019 1:22 AM # 
“Karel Sabbe and Greig Hamilton began loop 4 with under 2 minutes to spare.”
Apr 1, 2019 1:24 AM # 
Looks like you’re going to have to do this race, Georgia!
Apr 1, 2019 1:26 AM # 
Time’s up. The other four runners are aiming for a 3-Loop Fun Run now - 1:23 am deadline.
Apr 1, 2019 1:32 AM # 
Guillaume misses the cutoff by 3:49. Fun Run for him and potentially the 3 others still on Loop 3.

so only 2 runners remaining on Loop 4. no other finishers have completed Loop 4 and Loop 5 with such a small time cushion. kiwi power!!
Apr 1, 2019 2:00 AM # 
Guillaume has been tapped out with a 3-loop time of 36:03:49. Last year the best performance was Gary Robbins' 3-loop Fun Run at 36:12:12:54. Guillaume was the only other runner still on course after that but he failed to complete his 3rd loop under the Fun Run cut-off of 40 hours.
Apr 1, 2019 2:00 AM # 
"Loop 3 time for Karel is 35:40:18 and for Greig is 35:41:57."
Apr 1, 2019 2:06 AM # 
Now that we've discovered Greig is an Attackpointer, we should have been cheering for him all along!

In case anyone is unfamiliar with Karel Sabbe, he's a Belgian ultrarunner who currently has FKTs for both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Apr 1, 2019 2:52 AM # 
Twitter says Loop 4 normally takes 13.5+ hours. Greig and Karel need to do it under 12 hours and leave some interloopal time before they go out on Loop 5. Apparently, Loop 4 has been done sub-12 a couple of times (only once at night) but they need to do both Loops 4 and 5 in 24 hours, and Silky says that hasn't been done. So... stay tuned. Refresh, refresh, refresh.
Apr 1, 2019 2:58 AM # 
Posted by Gary Robbins just now. (Google if you don't know about Gary and the Barkley. He's missing the 2019 edition due to injury.):

This week has been a struggle, an emotional roller coaster. There's nowhere in the world my family and I would rather be right now than in Frozen Head State Park at the #bm100 Two of my best friends in the world, John Kelly and Jared Campbell, were both there again this year, and both came up short for independent reasons. Neither of them has anything left to prove on the Barkley course, and everyone knows that. How they've both handled themselves since dropping is a testament to their character and just one of the reasons why I hold them both in such high regard. The friendships forged "out there" are for life, and if I can live my day to day life just a little bit more like both of them do, then I know I'll be doing it right and I'll be a better person for it. The fact that John was able to get through 2 laps in 21:02 shows that this current course is doable, but it might still win this weekend. There are 2 people left on course, on lap 4, and both of them are virgins. That's incredible in its own right. It's highly unlikely they'll be able to start loop 5 before the 48 hour cutoff, but you never know. I'd love to get to follow along all day tomorrow as well. Go Karel! Go Greig! Chances are however, that I'll get to meet both of them in Frozen Head in 2020. Yes, we are all in for next year, and it can't come soon enough! There's a lot to miss about the Barkley and the community of people that make it so special. I feel so very fortunate to have spent the last 3 years of my life getting to know what the Barkley is truly all about. Laz is not a masochist, in fact he's exactly the opposite and that man knows how to get the most out of people. The GD Barkley gets into your blood...insert rat bite jokes here.
Apr 1, 2019 3:10 AM # 
Social media has dug into the vault (Matt Mahoney's site linked above) and discovered that in 2012, Brett Maune did the final two loops in 23:02 - 4th loop in the dark, 5th loop in daylight, same as this year. So there is precedent. Brett achieved the current course record with that run, and it was his 2nd consecutive Barkley finish. Greig and Karel are both "virgins", to use the official Barkley terminology. So they're underdogs but that just makes it more fun to cheer them on.

I'd make popcorn but their timing will actually be much better for coffee.
Apr 1, 2019 3:32 AM # 
Nooo!! Greig has returned to camp and been tapped out.
Apr 1, 2019 3:43 AM # 
That is still a Fun Run - a terrific achievement for a novice Barkley runner.
Apr 1, 2019 9:03 AM # 
The course wins again...
Apr 1, 2019 11:52 AM # 
Two years in a row!

Karel Sabbe dropped out on Loop 4 - looks like he was out for 6-ish hours in the dark. He doesn’t specialize in navigation sports so it would have become more challenging after Greig dropped out. Incredible job by a first timer at Barkley.

Tomokazu Ihara, Johan Steene and Jamil Coury finished loop 3 together less than half an hour before the Fun Run deadline. So there were six Fun Run finishers this year. Last year there was just Gary Robbins.
Apr 1, 2019 2:43 PM # 
Happy April!
Apr 1, 2019 5:33 PM # 
Post-Barkley Summary
Apr 2, 2019 1:56 PM # 
SM on Nicky Spinks’ experience at Barkley
Apr 3, 2019 6:53 PM # 
Apr 5, 2019 3:43 AM # 
Laz's summary:

the more things change

so the 2019 barkley marathons is in the books....

and the brushy mountains flexed their muscles one more time.
the score for the day: barkley 40 humans 0

in a stellar field (perhaps the strongest yet assembled at frozen head) several things worked against the humans.
first, the field was laced with virgins...

and, in the end, it was virgins leading the way thru loop 3 and into loop 4.
the barkley is notoriously unkind to virgins.

second, there is no way to truly appreciate the capricious nature of frozen head weather without having experienced it.

regardless of any pre-race warnings,
runners heading out into the sunny 80 degree temperatures of saturday afternoon
could scarcely envision that they would be running thru snow in blizzard winds and 15 degree temperatures before the next 20 mile loop was complete....

it wasn't the snow that got them, tho.
it was the hours of colder and colder rain, hail, sleet, and finally snow,
along with high winds that paved the way to it.

the wind beat us around in camp pretty good,
but that was just eddies curling down into the valley.
the roar of the serious winds above the thermocline sounded like a jet airplane was taking off partway up the mountain.

there is nothing that quite matches frozen head's microclimate anywhere else in tennessee.
probably not many places anywhere in the world.
a 65 degree (36 degrees C) temperature swing in 12 hours presents unique challenges to the body's temperature regulating mechanisms,
and complicating that with tens of thousands of feet in elevation change was enough to overwhelm most of the field.

to further complicate things,
2019 was time for one of those major course modifications
that leaves us room for the annual tweaks that keep the barkley fresh and fun.

the runners hardly missed the testicle spectacle and pighead creek,
as they were amply compensated with the return of little hell,
and a brand new challenge posed by the meat grinder.
a one-eyed, hunchbacked ogre,
with yellowed teeth and long, razor sharp claws,
positioned perfectly
lying in wait to crush the hopes of would-be fun runners,
the meat grinder is poised to take its place among the legendary hills of the barkley.

as always, when a major alteration is enacted,
there are accusations that raw dog has "gone too far" this time....

a few numbers can add clarity to that discussion;

last year's race was the final one on the previous basic course outline.
it was the same basic course that saw three finishers in 2012
(the year of perfect weather... anything *is* possible at frozen head)
and 9 of the 15 grabbed their finishes on this course.

comparing 2019 to 2018

2018: 26 runners finished one loop
2019: 28 one loop finishers

2018: loop 1 winning time: 8:38:08
2019: loop 1 winning time: 8:31:49

2018 : 22 runners started loop 2
2019: 22 runners started loop 2

2018: loop 2 winning time: 23:05:35
2019 loop 2 winning time: 21:02:54

2018: 1 fun run in 36:12:54
2019: 6 fun runs,the first in 35:40:18

as one disappointed drop after another said in the aftermath;
this course is finishable...

you just cannot make any mistakes.
(like not carrying your arctic survival kit, just because it is 80 degrees and sunshine when you start your loop)

in 1995, mark williams led off the first barkley 100 finish with a lap around 8:20...

the more things change,
the more they stay the same.

here is the straight scoop on 2019:

Barkley Marathons

Loop 1
1 John Kelly TN 8:31:49
2 Guillaume Calmettes CA 8:32:35
3 Jamille Coury AZ 8:48:27
4 Karel Sabbe BEL 9:27:49
5 Grieg Hamilton NZL 9:33:37
6 Remy Jegard FRA 9:46:11
7 Johan Steene SWE 9:46:30
8 Mikael Heerman FIN 9:46:31
9 Santiago Pinto COL 9:56:38
10 Tomokazu Ohara JPN 9:56:45
11 Paul Giblin SCT 10:01:41
12 Mark Laveson CA 10:27:08
13 Steve Slaby MD 10:38:20
14 James Elson GBR 10:38:21
15 Jared Campbell UT 10:38:26
16 Gavin Woody WA 10:38:27
17 Jodi Isenor NS 10:46:36
18 Stephanie Case AFG 11:32:51
19 Mig Panhuysen NED 11:32:52
20 Nicky Spinks ENG 11:32:53
21 Billy Reed NIR 11:32:54
22 Benoit Laval FRA 11:39:12
23 Valery Causserieu FRA 11:50:03
24 Hisayuki Tateno JPN 13:08:54
25 Ed Thomas SD 13:11:26
26 Dale Holdaway IL 13:11:27
27 Zach Gingerich OR 13:13:15
28 Maggie Guterl PA 13:13:16

42 Starters

Loop 2
1 Kelly 21:02:54
2 Calmettes 21:11:44
3 Hamilton 22:06:31
4 Sabbe 22:57:19
5 Steene 24:20:10
6 Coury 24:21:23
7 Ohara 24:25:26

22 Starters

Loop 3
1 Sabbe 35:40:18
2 Hamilton 35:41:58
3 Calmettes 36:03:49
4 Ohara 39:38:34
5 Coury 39:38:35
6 Steene 39:38:36

6 Starters

Loop 4

2 Starters

Loop 5

0 Starters
Apr 12, 2019 9:05 PM # 
Hi, I saw my name in the thread (Benoit Letourneau)... No unfortunately, I was not at the Barkley Marathons. I did the Barkley Fall Classic last year and finished 3rd. I've been trying to enter for the last 3 years but it is really hard as there are more then a 1000 people applying each year... For 40 spots, the odds are very slim that you get selected. I'll keep trying until I get there though.
Apr 12, 2019 11:11 PM # 
Hope you get in, Benoit! :)
Apr 15, 2019 4:48 PM # 
Race report from elite obstacle racer from Ottawa, Morgan Mckay:
Apr 15, 2019 6:33 PM # 
quote from the above article, "it was way harder to navigate than I had anticipated"

Not enough can be said to the value of orienteering.

This discussion thread is closed.