Once one of the nation’s fastest collegiate long-distance runners, Chris Barnicle, 29 and now known as one of the “world’s fastest stoners,” eyes a return to elite running status with a side habit of marijuana use. The ultimate goal? A four-minute mile.
In April, he won his second title at the 420 Games, a series of events that “promote the healthy and responsible use of cannabis,” crossing the line in first at the 4.2-mile, 6.8K March race. The prize? US$500 towards marijuana purchases in the state that has lessened its cannabis laws in recent years.
The Boston native who moved to California in 2014 was in the spotlight in February for finishing last place at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles in 3:45:34. He qualified for the race with a sub-1:05 half-marathon performance in 2013 but did little running in the leadup to the trials.
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While cannabis use during the 420 Games was and continues to be considered commonplace, doing so before the U.S. Trials and being caught with it in his system would have resulted in a disqualification. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, in-competition cannabis use is prohibited.
— Kevin Morris (@kevmofoto) February 16, 2016
A former All-American at the University of Arkansas, Barnicle, who spent time in Kenya training like many Canadians and other elite athletes because of its high-altitude, has a lifetime best in the 10,000m of 28:10. That mark was set at the Payton Jordan Invitational on the same night as Simon Bairu’s then-Canadian record-breaking performance.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Barnicle says that his run at the U.S. Trials in February has motivated him to train for a sub-four-minute mile, a feat he nearly achieved in college, the peak (thus far) of his running career. A sub-four mile (1609 metres) is considered a benchmark in men’s running and was long considered to be impossible until Roger Bannister accomplished the feat for the first time in 1954.
Barnicle, with the help of running, wants to end the negative stigma associated with cannabis use and says that there are plenty of athletes who use the substance but cannot publicize or admit it because of contract obligations.
Seeing that sunshine sneak through the clouds and finding a bit of light. Two months and change until crossing that finish line at the Olympic Trials Marathon some 20 miles and a few neighborhoods behind me. Don't ever let anyone tell you your limits. Don't ever let your energies turn into insecurities. Just shut the fuck up and run. #worldsfasteststoner #mtolympus #losangeles #running #selfie #olympictrials #marathon
Barnicle began regular cannabis use in high school after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, chronic inflammation of the intestines. For a living, he now sells cannabis-related clothing and products.
With running and racing, the 29-year-old wants to continue to push back the negative stigma associated with cannabis use. While high, of course.