Legendary Canadian ultrarunner Gary Robbins has removed himself from the start list of the 2022 Barkley Marathons. He made the announcement via Instagram on Monday, citing a desire to spend more time with his six-year-old son instead of spending hours training in the upcoming year.
Robbins has attempted the infamous race three times already, in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He made it to the fifth lap in his first two years and very narrowly missed finishing in 2017. That year, the only finisher was John Kelly. In 2018, Robbins was the only fun run finisher, which means he completed three loops in under 40 hours. There were no finishers the following year, and in 2019, Robbins was injured unable to race. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and he didn’t compete in 2021.
Since his first attempt six years ago, it has been Robbins’ goal to become the 16th person in Barkley Marathons history to actually finish the race. 2022 would have finally been his chance to do so after three years of absence, but he has made the decision to withdraw because, as he said in his Instagram post, it’s “the right thing to do.”
“My son is growing up far too fast,” he said in the post, “and I don’t want to be staring at a 10-year-old wondering where the time went, realizing I’d taken it all for granted.” He goes on to say that he will continue training and will race a few shorter distance events, but his goal for the year and beyond is to spend more one-on-one time with his son, “so that hopefully when he’s old enough to make his own life decisions, he’ll then choose to spend a bit more one on one time with me.”
Of course, we do not know who will be racing this year, since that information is never made public, but Robbins will not be among them. To read his full post, click here.