Barkley Marathons 2019 ends with no finishers

Six runners scored Fun Runs, but a Fun Run is still a DNF

April 1st, 2019 by | Posted in Trail Running | Tags: , , , , ,

It might be hard to imagine a race in which the entire field DNFs, but it’s not unusual at the Barkley Marathons, and it happened for the second year in a row as the race came to an end earlier this morning. The results were somewhat better than last year, with six Fun Runs recorded (three 20-mile loops in under 40 hours). Last year Canadian Gary Robbins was the only runner to achieve a Fun Run, and there were no finishers. 

Last night with only two minutes to go before the 9:23 p.m. cutoff, Karel Sabbe and Greig Hamilton set off on loop four. Shortly afterwards, Guillaume Calmettes arrived in camp, well within the cutoff for a Fun Run (which was 1:23 a.m. Monday) but too late to be allowed to attempt a fourth loop. He was tapped out (referring to the playing of Taps by a bugler for each runner who DNFs). 

RELATED: Barkley Marathons update: it’s down to six

Tomokazu Ihara, Johan Steene and Jamil Coury all finished Fun Runs last night, but were tapped out upon returning to camp.

Greig Hamilton was the first to say “uncle” on loop four. Sabbe hung in for another few hours before packing it in and returning to camp around 3:30 a.m.

RELATED: What you need to know about the Barkley Marathons

RELATED: John Kelly drops out of Barkley Marathons: “I was no longer having fun”

Gary Robbins noted the significance of the final two to drop out being Barkley “virgins.” Sabbe, a dentist from Belgium, got a lot of attention for setting the most recent FKT on the Appalachian Trail in August 2018. Hamilton, who is from Christchurch, New Zealand, was the 2016 world champion in rogaining (long-distance orienteering).

But at the Barkley Marathons, your race pedigree means very little. Two of this year’s strongest contenders, John Kelly and Jared Campbell, shocked everyone following with their early DNFs. 2017 finisher Kelly, with a strong lead after two laps, headed for his tent for a nap, emerging later to announce he no longer wanted to continue, and tapped himself out on the bugle. Campbell, with three Barkley finishes on his resume, kept fans guessing for hours as to his whereabouts after rolling his ankle badly on the first loop.

With the race over for another year, runners, crews, Keith Dunn (the only reliable source of information on Twitter), race director Lazarus Lake, and the thousands who followed #BM100 now reluctantly return to their regular activities.

RELATED: Lazarus Lake finishes 5,100 kilometre walk across America