The Barkley Marathons III
Another installment of the Barkley Marathons began on Thursday, and ended less than 48 hours afterwards. It seems that travel restrictions meant it was largely an American affair with few, if any, international participants, most notably meaning that Gary Robbins didn’t have another chance at revenge this year. I say that without complete certainty, because I can’t find a full list of the runners anywhere, nor could I find any specific information about the course this year. I think it’s genuinely amazing that in the internet era, after having had multiple documentaries produced about the Barkley, it still manages to retain so much secrecy. As a morbidly curious onlooker, the mystique of the Barkley is a huge part of its appeal.
Of the runners that were identifiable, there were a handful of big names; Jared Campbell who I wrote about last time I blogged about the Barkley, fan favourite and veteran of not completing the Barkley Jamil Coury and one of the biggest stars of ultrarunning, Courtney Dauwalter. The latter two managed to complete two loops but didn’t make it in the time limit to start the third loop, arriving back at camp about 12 minutes too late. If Courtney Dauwalter can’t do it, then it may as well be impossible. With that being said, Jared Campbell fared better than his injury-stricken 2019, and made it through three loops along with Luke Nelson for them to both bag a surely inaccurately named ‘Fun Run’, but were similarly over the time limit to attempt loop 4. And of course, none of this is even mentioning a potential loop 5…
The Barkley’s legend grows as it defeats all competitors for the third consecutive time. The conditions weren’t ideal, but they rarely are in a place named Frozen Head Park in Tennessee. There is some good news though; now Dauwalter has entered and is interested, maybe next year she’ll become the first woman to beat the Barkley?