There were zero finishers of the 2018 Barkley Marathons, a year which included challenging weather, in addition to the nearly-impossible nature of the ultramarathon’s course.

The 100-miler (almost certainly more than 100 miles) is held in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. This year’s race began on March 24 and runners had 60 hours to complete five 20-mile loops. Canadian Gary Robbins made it the furthest in his third attempt at defeating the Barkley, which only 15 people have finished in more than 30 years, as he completed what is known as a ‘fun run,’ or completing three 20-mile loops in less than 40 hours. The time cutoff to advance to the fourth loop is 36 hours while Robbins clocked in at 36:12:12:54.

The Barkley, according to race veteran Matt Mahoney, has 67,000 feet (20,421 m) of climb.

Behind Robbins, who was the highest-profiled name in part because of his notable past attempts at finishing the race, plus he had a documentary released about past Barkleys, was a number of Canadians, including several loop finishers. (Finishing a single loop is in and of itself an accomplishment, it can be said.)

The Canadians, according to Canadian Running magazine’s editor, Michael Doyle, who was on site, included Stephanie Case, Jodi Isenor, Anatoly Ross and Robbins. Check out our pre-race interview with Case, a human rights lawyer who has worked around the world with the UN and NGOs, here. Ross finished second at the 2017 Barkley Fall Classic, considered a teaser for the real Barkley Marathons, while Isenor completed the Barkley fun run back in 2014 finishing three loops in 36:36:03.

Note that these are highly unofficial results as no entry lists are provided for the race and no results are publicly posted in the traditional sense of road or trail racing. (So, there could be other Canadians unaccounted for.)

Canadian results

Gary Robbins – 3 loops (36:12:12:54)
Jodi Isenor – 1 loop (in approximately 9:23:00, dropped during loop 2 with hypothermic symptoms)
Stephanie Case – 1 loop (got all her books on loop 2, but arrived back to camp after the cutoff. “We’re losers not quitters,” she said.)
Anatoly Ross – 1 loop (believed)

The cutoff for the first loop to count is 13:20:00. However it’s 12 hours (5 loops x 12 hours = 60 total hours, the ultimate time limit) if a runner wants to continue onto the second loop.

Runners collect pages of books along course to prove they followed the correct route. No GPS watches are allowed and participants follow a map they copied onto their own version from a master map prior to beginning the Barkley.

2018 Barkley Marathons
Photo: Michael Doyle.

This year marked the second time since 2007 that no runner was able to finish five loops in less than 60 hours at the Barkley Marathons.

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