Late last month, Canadian Running shared some of the beastly workouts that Gary Robbins is doing ahead of the 2017 Barkley Marathons. He posts all of his workouts on Strava, which allows fans to get a glimpse of his Barkley buildup.
Now, the North Vancouver-based trail runner has gone a step further posting a training video ahead of the ultramarathon. Robbins will run the famous Barkley Marathons, a 100- to 120-mile (160-190K) trail race (the exact race distance is unclear as the course changes annually) in the thick brush of Frozen Head State Park, Tenn., in three weeks. (For those interested, Canadian Running will be on site for the Barkley Marathons.)
“I have had a very successful winter season with consistent training via predominantly backcountry ski touring,” he wrote on his blog on Sunday.
He says that he has two more “high volume” weeks of training before he tapers for Barkley, which consists of completing five approximately 20-mile loops in less than 60 hours. The event is capped at 40 runners per year; only 14 have ever completed the Barkley Marathons dating back to 1986. A major component of the race is navigation as the course is not marked and runners must use a compass and map to determine an appropriate path. Robbins made it to loop five in 2016 but dropped out after getting lost.
In the last 9 months of my life I've completed The Wonderland Trail (150k), Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (165k), HURT (161k), 4.5 laps of The Barkley (178k), and we've welcomed a beautiful child into our lives. When people ask me "what's next?" the only answer is "sleep", just sleep and nothing else. It's Linda's turn now as she focuses in on completing the Fat Dog 120 miler before Reed's first birthday 🙂 Photo credit Jegard Remy at The Barkley Marathons.
If he finishes, he would become the first Canadian to do so in the event’s history.
Much of the footage in the featured training video comes from the BCMC Trail at Grouse Mountain, the location of choice when it comes to elevation gains. For example, in the two weeks leading up to Feb. 27-March 5, Robbins conquered 6,400m and 9,450m of elevation, split, over the course of 14 days. Metro Vancouver has received an unseasonal amount of snowfall this winter adding an extra element to his training.
The gate where I start and finish all of my Barkley Marathons training sessions. Maybe once a decade we see snow down to this elevation in February, but March? I'd have to check the history books, IE Google. In my 13 years of living here on the coast I can't ever recall experiencing snow like this in March. My skis weep loudly from behind closet doors while the days till the Barkley begins evaporate like snowflakes in The Pacific. Over 30,000ft for the week and over 60,000ft in the last 14 days. Just two more high volume weeks to go! #barkleymarathons #VerticalWeek #suuntospartan #suuntorun
Expect additional training videos to be released in the coming weeks as Robbins trains to finish one of the hardest ultras in the world.
@keithdunn it's a practice gate. I pretend it's yellow in my mind 🙂 but I never touch it to finish off a training day
— Gary Robbins (@gary_robbins) March 6, 2017
He begins and finishes each of his workouts at a gate, symbolic as it is reminiscent of the start/finish line of the Barkley Marathons. “I never touch it to finish off a training day,” he says.