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Gary Robbins is running down hills again

The three-time Barkley Marathons attempter is cautiously optimistic about his racing in 2020. Photo: Brice Ferre

Gary Robbins

Canadian ultratrail warrior and race director Gary Robbins of Chilliwack, B.C. was mostly absent from the racing scene in 2019, but on Friday he posted a very cool video of himself running a fast 3,000-foot descent for the first time in three months. In the post he also talked about the injuries he dealt with in 2019 and his hopes for the coming year.


Most of us knew that Robbins was troubled by a stress fracture in his sacrum, diagnosed a year ago, which kept him from attempting the Barkley Marathons for a fourth time in 2019. He also shared in the current post that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his iliac bone, which prevented him from racing this fall. He maintained fitness with a lot of road, mountain, gravel and trainer cycling and some strength training.

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Robbins thinks his issues stem from a long-standing foot/toe issue, which seems to have been helped by taping the problem toe to its neighbour. “I’m held together with duct tape and spit these days it seems,” he quipped.

Many commenters wanted to know how he captured such excellent video of his downhill run. Robbins used an Insta360 ONE X on a selfie stick held in his right hand. (The selfie stick is invisible in the shot because it’s positioned in the blind spot between the camera’s two lenses. This is why Robbins appears not to be moving his right arm.)

Robbins has hinted that he intends to toe the line at the Barkley Marathons again in 2020, but today he would not say whether he plans to return. The race, which typically takes place in the last week of March or first week of April, is one of the most difficult trail races in the world. The Barkley gives a small field of runners 60 hours to try and finish five 20-mile loops through mountainous and challenging terrain, while using their orienteering skills to navigate the course, which is not marked. In more than 30 years, just 15 people have finished the race.

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