Once Again, No Participants Were Able to Finish the Barkley Marathons

From: Runners World


Once Again, No Participants Were Able to Finish the Barkley Marathons

Six finished the Fun Run, but no one was able to conquer the course for the second year in a row

Barkley Marathon 2019


The race that “eats its young” devoured the entire field again at the 2019 Barkley Marathons: Not one of the 40 participants completed the race this year, leaving the total list of finishers at 15.

This year was set be an exciting one, with a field including elites from all over the world, including Guillaume Calmettes, a previous winner of Big’s Backyard Ultra—another race created by Barkley Marathons cofounder Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell—and the current Appalachian Trail through-hiking record holder Karel Sabbe of Belgium. The field even included two returning Barkley finishers in Jared Campbell—the only person to complete it three times—and John Kelly, who finished the race two years ago.

Barkley Marathon 2019
John Kelly navigates his way through the 2019 Barkley Marathon course.

Barkley Marathon 2019
Jared Campbell, a three-time Barkley Marathon finisher, had to drop out in 2019 due to a severe ankle injury on the first descent.

For 2019, the race started opposite, with hot and sunny temperatures starting in the 50s in the morning and rising into the 80s during the day.

The first to return to camp was Kelly in 8:31:49, with Calmettes less than a minute behind him. Both were in camp for barely six minutes before heading back out for loop 2. A total of 28 people finished loop one, though only 22 went on to attempt loop two.

As far as the Barkley goes, anything can happen. So as night fell on the Tennessee hills, a rain storm swept in, bringing temperatures down to the low 30s overnight. The trails became muddy and difficult to navigate, and as temperatures descended, rain turned to sleet. At some of the higher altitudes, runners were reporting snow. With the conditions worsening, runners starting dropping out.

The Real Keith@keithdunn

6 runners are on loop 3:
Guillaume Calmettes @gcalmettes
Greig Hamilton
Karel Sabbe
Tomokazu Ihara
Johan Steene @Sugrorsmannen
Jamil Coury @JamilCoury

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Kelly tapped himself out without attempting a third loop.

The Real Keith@keithdunn

John Kelly ⁦@RndmForestRunnr⁩ taps himself out after two loops.

The final six struggled on loop three, with none coming into camp until Sabbe and Hamilton arrived with less than 30 minutes to go before the loop four starting time. They quickly resupplied before heading out with less than two minutes before the cutoff. However, Hamilton would return to camp a couple of hours later and tap out.

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