Gary Robbins

Photo: Matt Trappe.

Not much more needs to be said about Gary Robbins and his Barkley Marathons training.

In previous weeks, Canadian Running posted about a 21.1K workout, where he completed 3,081m of elevation, as well as a 22.8K run with 3,391m of vertical. On Wednesday, however, he completely outdid his previous workouts crushing 42.3K in 12:35:21 with a staggering 6,238m of elevation gain.

The North Vancouver resident, who will run the Barkley Marathons in two weeks, now begins his taper ahead of the 100-mile race in Frozen Head State Park, Tenn. He’s conquered 38,404m of vertical in the last three-and-a-half weeks including 18,897m over the previous eight days. Completing the Barkley Marathons requires finishing five 20-mile loops in less than 60 hours. The race involves as much as 18,000m of vertical climb (and descent) making it one of the most difficult ultramarathons in the world. For comparison, he will need to complete as much vertical in 60 hours as he did over an eight-day span when it comes time to race.

In 2016, Robbins made it to the fifth and final loop of the Barkley but dropped out. This year, he will look to become the first Canadian to finish the quirky event. (For example, there are no timing chips, race entry for first-timers is $1.60, a license plate and an essay and only 40 runners gain entry each year.) Only 14 people have finished the race within the 60-hour cutoff since its inception in 1986.

Strava statistics

Gary Robbins

Gary Robbins

Robbins, as do many other runners, posts his workouts and runs to Strava, a social media platform for sharing physical activity. There Robbins has more than 5,700 followers, one of the largest fan bases of any Canadian.

RELATED: Rejean Chiasson runs mind-blowing pace in 42K workout ahead of Boston Marathon.

Check out the latest Trail Special issue of Canadian Running for a lengthy feature on Robbins and the Barkley Marathons. CR will be in Frozen Head State Park reporting live from the 2017 Barkley Marathons.


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1 Comment

  • To be fair, you’re underestimating Barkley’s vertical a bit. Further down Matt Mahoney’s page, linked above, it notes that the 2015 Barkley had about 66,000 ft of vertical. It was likely even more last year and if ruthless race designer Laz’s past actions are any indicator, since someone finished last year, the 2017 race will be even harder. Expect over 70,000 ft (over 21,000m) of vertical. It’s also thought to be 125 miles or more in length now, but no one knows for sure.

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