Two runners set off in the Barkley Marathons
The reputation of the Barkley Marathons as ‘the race that eats its cubs’ is confirmed again this year, with only two runners remaining on the course: three times finishing Jared campbell from Salt Lake City and the veteran ultrarunner Luke nelson from Pocatello, Idaho, who returned to camp together after 24 hours and 32 minutes (around 3:45 a.m.), more than two hours before the cutoff, and began Loop 3 shortly after. The others gave up voluntarily or did not meet the deadlines that would allow them to continue.
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– Keith (@keithdunn) March 19, 2021
Campbell and Nelson must complete Loop 3 and be on Loop 4 before the 36 hour mark is reached, at 3:04 p.m. ET today. If they fail, they must be back at camp by 7:04 p.m. to score a Fun Run, and the race will be over. Finisher 2017 John kelly is hoping for a Fun Run finish for them, but says a fourth loop is unlikely at this point, based on their times so far.
Update: Shortly after 3 p.m. Keith Dunn tweeted that Campbell and Nelson were making their way back down Rat Jaw after nine hours and 35 minutes on Loop 3. Calculating that they probably have three or four hours of racing left in Loop 3, there is now no lucky they were allowed to attempt a fourth loop. The best we can hope for is that they score a Fun Run which means they have to get back to camp by 7:04 PM.
– John Kelly (@RndmForestRunnr) March 19, 2021
Fans hoping to see the first woman in the race will be disappointed once again this year: the alliance made up of Courtney Dauwalter, Liz Canty and Maggie Guterl missed the 12 minute loop 3 start cutoff, arriving at camp after 26 hours and 52 minutes on the course. (The cutoff is 26:40.) Jamil Coury arrived at the camp soon after and was exploited. All the others on loop 2 will be involved when they return to camp. (“Tapping out” refers to the DNF status of a runner announced on the field by a bugle playing Taps.)
At around 4 a.m., Dunn reported that Scott Martin, Wes thurman and Nikolay Nachev had decided to leave him during loop 2. Pavel Paloncy also fell on loop 2.
The race started shortly after 3 a.m. yesterday. There were a few early DNFs, but most of the ground came back to camp before the 1:20 pm cutoff and started Loop 2.
JamJam got caught in Barkley’s weather flim flim. Thin. 😩
– Opposite please 💙 (@downinfrontpls) March 19, 2021
Fans of the race know that the lead runners often work together, supporting each other through the grueling five laps of the grueling course. But on loop 5, if they get there, they will be separated and forced to run in opposite directions. The last time this happened was in 2017, when Kelly and Gary Robbins ran together to Loop 5. Kelly ended up finishing, and Robbins didn’t. (Sadly, Campbell and Nelson won’t have to deal with that this year.)
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Dunn reports that there has been a lot of fog on the course making it difficult to navigate, and there has been a lot of rain. (The course is not marked and GPS is not allowed. Runners must navigate using a map and compass, so they need strong orienteering skills, not to mention steep climbs and descents as the race has a ridiculous vertical drop. everyone’s challenge is probably sleep deprivation. Runners can rest at camp if they have a cushion of time, but the clock never stops ticking and the thresholds are ambitious.)
The infamous 100 Mile in the Tennessee Mountains was canceled in 2020 due to COVID, and this year’s race is a little different from the past, with COVID passports and masking and distancing at the start. Participants (capped at 40, even under normal circumstances) must either have been vaccinated or have had the virus and recovered. For obvious reasons, almost all of the participants are from the United States, and there are more “Barkley virgins” (ie novices) than usual.
Andy Pearson, Ian Farris and Harold Zundel left the second loop. Soon after, Hiram Rogers arrived with the remaining four Loop 1 runners; Davy must have played taps eight times. No rider remains on the first loop; 11 remain on the second loop. # BM100
– Keith (@keithdunn) March 19, 2021
The race, started by Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell 35 years ago it was about completing five repetitions of a 20 mile loop over unforgiving, steep terrain in less than 60 hours, only seen 15 finishers in its 35 year history. Kelly, who grew up in the Frozen Head area, had attempted the Barkley twice before finally finishing the race in 2017. He entered the race a fourth time in 2019, then shocked everyone by retiring after two. loops – and typing, since he knows how to play the bugle.
Campbell also ran in 2019, but twisted his ankle during Loop 1 and retired.
There has never been a female graduate. The last woman to score a fun run was Canadian Bev Anderson-Abbs, who lives in the United States, in 2013.