토요일, 7월 13, 2024
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Jasmin Paris First Ever Women’s Finisher, Most Finishers Ever – iRunFar


The 2024 Barkley Marathons has concluded outside of Wartburg, Tennessee, with a record-breaking five runners finishing this year’s edition and women’s history made as Jasmin Paris (U.K.) became the first woman to ever finish the event in a time of 59 hours, 58 minutes, and 21 seconds.

In the men’s race, Ihor Verys (Ukraine, lives in Canada) finished first, John Kelly (U.S.) second, Jared Campbell (U.S.) third, and Greig Hamilton (New Zealand) fourth.

Jasmin Paris - 2024 Barkley Marathons winner

Jasmin Paris becomes the first woman finisher of the Barkley Marathons at the event’s 2024 edition, with 99 seconds to spare. Photo: Howie Stern

But let’s rewind 60 hours, to the start of the 2024 edition. Runners and their crews camped in Frozen Head State Park heard the sound of the conch at 4:17 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20, signaling that they had one hour to prepare for the start of lap one of the Barkley Marathons. This was after a car alarm earlier in the night sent people scrambling for their race kit, thinking it was the sound of the conch.

As is tradition, no start list was published, and details from the event were scarce. Followers were glued to the Twitter feed of ultrarunner and official Barkley reporter Keith Dunn, who provided amazing and hilarious commentary throughout the 60-hour event, which officially started at 5:17 a.m. Also, a hat tip to Taka who has for several years maintained an unofficial but excellent spreadsheet to track runners’ progress.

With a good weather forecast, runners were probably as optimistic as is realistically possible about completing the incredibly brutal course, which changes and gets harder every year there are finishers. With a record three finishers last year, one can only assume that race director Gary Cantrell, aka Lazarus Lake, took the routing of the 26-ish mile loop up a notch.

To finish the race, runners must complete five laps of the course within 60 hours, alternating directions for the first four, and then any remaining runners setting off in opposite directions on the fifth and final lap, after the first runner out on the fifth lap chooses their preferred direction.

The mostly off-trail race tends to cover on the order of 130 miles with 63,000 feet of elevation gain, though no one besides the race director knows for sure as GPS watches and spectators aren’t allowed on the course. Runners collect pages from books hidden along the course to prove they cover each loop.

From the start, attention was on Paris to see if she could become the first woman to complete all five laps of the Barkley Marathons this year. She set out for her record-setting fifth and final lap with 13 hours remaining, and with five minutes until the end, all eyes were down the road. With two Fun Runs already to her name in 2022 and 2023, she completed the first three laps of this year’s race in a new women’s record time and became only the second woman in the event’s history to set out on lap four. Fun Runs consist of completing three laps of the course in 40 hours, and finishing this is considered a proper achievement in itself.

Then she became the first woman ever to complete the fourth lap and set out for her fifth. And ultimately, she returned to the yellow gate at the race’s start-finish line triumphant, as the fifth and final finisher for 2024.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, a mix of prior Barkley finishers, near finishers, and hopefuls got a record-breaking six men out on the final lap. After leading for much of the race’s second half, and getting the choice of direction for the final lap, Verys was the first one back to the yellow gate in a time of 58:44:59, an amazing run for a Barkley first-timer. Kelly came in next with a time of 59:15:38, his third finish of the event, and Campbell finished for an incredible fourth time in 59:30:32. The fourth finisher, Hamilton, reached the finish in 59:38:42.

Whether it was good weather, an ever-increasing amount of course knowledge, or an incredibly strong field, the 2024 edition’s runners set a variety of additional records. This included a record for the number of finishers of the event in a single year, up from last year’s three, and brought the total number of people to complete the course to 20. This also includes a record 12 Barkley participants who finished Fun Runs this year, up from 10 in 2023.

Read more about how the women’s and men’s races played out below.

2024 Barkley Marathons Women’s Race

It was a historic moment at 5:16 p.m. on Friday, March 22, under two minutes before the race’s 60-hour cutoff, at Frozen Head State Park when Jasmin Paris (U.K.) became the first woman to complete the Barkley Marathons in a time of 59:58:21. And while during the initial hours of the event, it seemed like she was well on pace to complete the event, it came down those final 99 seconds.

Early reports from the ground were spotty. With the entrants list of Barkley kept secret, and only some runners having outed themselves as heading to Tennessee for the event, details of how the early laps of the race played out were kept under wraps. It wasn’t until she completed the second lap of the course that Keith Dunn confirmed Paris as a participant.

With Paris’ return to the Barkley for her third attempt this year, many believed this could be the chance for a woman to finish all five laps of the course. Paris finished the three-lap Fun Run in her initial attempt at the race in 2022. At the time, she was best known for winning the 268-mile Winter Spine Race outright in 2019 with a time of 83:12:23, a record that stood until 2024.

Jasmin Paris with Jared Campbell - 2024 Barkley Marathons winner

Jasmin Paris, the first ever woman finisher of the Barkley Marathons at the event’s 2024 edition, with now four-time finisher Jared Campbell. Photo: Howie Stern

Paris returned to Barkley in 2023, finished another Fun Run, and became only the second woman to start lap four. The first was Sue Johnston in 2001. In this effort, she ran out of time on the fourth lap.

Details on how many other women joined Paris on the Barkley start line are still unavailable. We understand at least two other women made up the women’s race, including Kelly Halpin (U.S.), who tapped out midway through loop two, and Lisa McFadden (U.S.). We’ll update this section if we learn about any other women in this year’s edition.

Paris went out strong with the top men and was part of the group of four that were the first to head out on loop three. Clearly on a mission, she finished her third loop in 32:15:53, a new Fun Run women’s record, and she also became the first woman to finish three laps three times. The previous women’s Fun Run record was set by Johnston in 2001 at 32:57:00.

Paris headed out for loop four at 32:27:50, and, according to Dunn, was “smiling and looking good.” After 46:29:12, a little over 14 hours, Paris returned to the start-finish line, completing loop four and becoming the first woman to do so in the race’s 37-year history.

After an approximately 25-minute break, Paris headed back on course, in the clockwise direction.

She had about 13 hours to complete the final loop, after completing loop four in about 14 hours. On Paris’ side, it was mostly daylight for the fifth lap, along with the reportedly easier-to-navigate clockwise course direction. Ultrarunning fans had a nail-biting 13-hour wait!

Jasmin Paris made everyone wait right up until there was just over a minute and a half left on the race clock. She touched the yellow gate at 59:58:21. She also now holds the honor of having the slowest known time on the course, a goal to which Barkley finishers aspire.

To learn more about Jasmin Paris, read our in-depth profile about her from 2020, written by Damian Hall (U.K.), a two-time Barkley attempter himself, including this year.

2024 Barkley Marathons Men’s Race

The early day or so of the men’s race was just as mysterious as the women’s, with the identity of participants not being officially confirmed until they completed two laps. In the meantime, Keith Dunn provided insightful commentary into the situation with tweets including, “A tall skinny guy in a red hat is past the fire tower. #BM100” and “A guy with a gray beard and a muscular guy with tree trunk legs came through the fire tower at 12:55. #BM100.”

As the hours wore on, it became clear that a deep field of men was contesting this year’s Barkley, including last year’s winner Aurélien Sanchez (France), two-time finisher John Kelly (U.S.), and three-time finisher Jared Campbell (U.S.). They were also joined by Barkley hopefuls Damian Hall (U.K.), who started loop five last year but wasn’t able to finish it; Harvey Lewis (U.S.) and Tomokazu Ihara (Japan), both of whom had attempted Barkley before; and Ihor Verys (Ukraine, lives in Canada), a super strong ultrarunner starting for the first time.

While Dunn tweeted that early on that Laz said, “The theme for the first loop this year is that you have to be able to navigate for yourself,” groups stayed together, and a group of five came in off of loop two together, including Kelly, Hall, Sébastien Raichon (France), and Verys in 19:27:49. It’s worth noting they were joined by two-time Fun Run finisher Jasmin Paris. A brief 17-minute stop saw the first racers heading out for lap three.

Meanwhile, Greig Hamilton (New Zealand), Campbell, and Maxime Gauduin (France) finished their second loop in 19:52:36. Albert Herrero (Spain) and Sanchez followed at 20:26:04, and Ihara and Thomas Dunkerbeck (The Netherlands) came in together at 22:08:53.

The brutal course continued to take its toll on racers with multi-time Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra winner and record-holder Lewis dropping on his second loop. Sanchez tapped out on lap three saying, “I don’t know how I did that last year.”

Ihor Verys - 2024 Barkley Marathons winner

Ihor Verys wins the 2024 Barkley Marathons on his first attempt. Photo: Howie Stern

The leaders marched on with Verys finishing loop three in 31:31:47. He was followed by Kelly and Hall just five minutes back in 31:36:57. Hamilton, Campbell, Raichon, Herrero, Gauduin, and Ihara all came in to complete loop three over the course of the next five hours and headed out for number four. When you add Jasmin Paris in the women’s race, who was firmly in the mix, it made it a record-breaking 10 runners out on lap four.

But as all Barkley runners and fans know, starting four laps does not always guarantee a finish, and Gauduin, Ihara, and Herrero all dropped during this loop.

In rapid succession, between 45:46 and 46:19, some five men finished loop four, in order Kelly, Verys, Hamilton, Hall, and Campbell.

Verys returned to the course first, after about a 20-minute break, choosing the clockwise direction for his fifth and final lap. It was only a matter of minutes until all the other men trailed out, in opposite directions of each other.

After a small time gap, Raichon was the last to finish loop four, nabbing a time of 47:45:39. Dunn reported he took a wrong turn toward the end of the loop and had to go back out to correct it before receiving credit for the lap. With a quick turnaround in camp, Raichon made it back onto the course to start the fifth lap just three minutes before the cutoff to do so at 48 hours elapsed.

Including Paris in the women’s race, that made seven folks on the course for five laps, a record number of loop-five starters. A lot of anxious waiting among ultrarunning fans in Frozen Head State Park and the world over followed for the race’s final 12 hours.

With less than two hours on the clock, Ihor Verys was the first to touch the yellow gate in a time of 58:44:59. According to Dunn, he quipped, “Maybe you should add a sixth loop.”

Now three-time Barkley finisher John Kelly came in shortly after in a time of 59:15:38. Jared Campbell finished a record fourth Barkley in 59:30:32, telling Laz afterward, “That new section is brutal. You are a bad man.” Greig Hamilton also made it back to the finish under the 60-hour cutoff with a time of 59:38:42.

You can get to know some of the men’s finishers via this 2019 profile of Jared Campbell and this entertaining race report by John Kelly of his first Barkley finish in 2017.

While Damian Hall and Sébastien Raichon ultimately tapped out without completing their fifth lap, it was a huge year for “the race that eats its young,” as it is called.

Greig Hamilton - Jared Campbell - Ihor Verys - Jasmin Paris - John Kelly - Finishers of 2024 Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathons class of 2024 (left to right): Greig Hamilton, Jared Campbell, Ihor Verys, Jasmin Paris, and John Kelly. Photo: Howie Stern



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