In a shocking turn of events, John Kelly, one of the favourites to complete this year’s Barkley Marathons, has “tapped” himself out after two loops. In regular English, that’s a DNF.
Kelly was the first to appear back in camp after the second loop, with 21:02:54 on the clock. He went to take a nap, presumably before heading out onto loop three, but The Real Keith has tweeted that he decided he was finished, playing Taps on the bugle for himself.
— The Real Keith (@keithdunn) March 31, 2019
Kelly tweeted a few minutes ago that he he simply decided to quit. Having finished the course in 2017 (the same year that Canadian Gary Robbins narrowly missed finishing), he says he knew “what 5 loops takes,” and realized he didn’t want it badly enough to go back into the forest, even for a third loop and possible Fun Run (three loops in under 40 hours). “… I was no longer having fun,” he wrote. “Sorry for any disappointment.”
Thank you so much for the #BM100 support. Long story short: I quit. I was good on time, felt strong, conditions were (relatively) good. But I know what 5 loops takes, & realized I don't have that motivation anymore. And I was no longer having fun. Sorry for any disappointment.
— John Kelly (@RndmForestRunnr) March 31, 2019
Folks following the action on Twitter reacted with admiration and sympathy, as well as disappointment for Kelly. The race started in fine but very warm weather yesterday morning at 9:23 ET. Last evening the temperature plummeted and the rain began. Changeable and very localized weather may be the most reliable feature of the Barkley Marathons.
Kelly is a Washington, D.C.-area data scientist, ultrarunner and Ironman triathlete. He’s about to move his young family to London for a new job. He grew up partly in the area surrounding the Barkley course.
.@NickySpinks is back in camp recovering (and trying to warm-up!) after a brutal night on the notorious Barkley Marathons course. No women remain in this year’s race.
— inov-8 (@inov_8) March 31, 2019
At last glance, Jamil Coury had joined Guillaume Calmettes and Greg Hamilton on the course for their third loop, as had Karel Sabbe. Johan Steene and Tomokazu Ihara had completed loop two, rested briefly and returned to the course for an attempted third loop.
BM100: Karel Sabbé, AT FKT holder (supported), with his book pages. He is one of the remaining runners. Also still in are @gcalmettes and @jamilcoury. All women have dropped. It was a cold and rainy night.
May the corse be with you. #bm100 #barkleymarathons 📷 @howiesternphoto pic.twitter.com/rzclwdptl0
— Trail Runner (@trailrunnermag) March 31, 2019
Several runners remain on the course, but are now considered unlikely to complete three loops. Calmettes and Hamilton are likely the only remaining Fun Run contenders.
— Territorio Trail Media (@TerritorioTrail) March 31, 2019
Three-time finisher Jared Campbell DNF’d last night after one loop, having badly rolled his ankle on the first descent of loop one:
Things don’t always go the way you plan. I had a pretty severe ankle roll on the first decent and it instantly ballooned. Denial about the situation lasted an hour. My goal from that point forward became to connect with each incredible people that would soon pass me. #bm100 pic.twitter.com/N4lRMLG7lZ
— Jared Campbell (@derajslc) March 31, 2019