Gary Robbins hopes a third time’s a charm at the Barkley Marathons.
In an interview with watchmaker and Robbins’s sponsor Suunto, the North Vancouver ultrarunner said, speaking about the Barkley, that he’s “100 per cent returning for a third attempt in 2018.” Robbins confirmed the word of commitment on Monday to Canadian Running.
The 2018 Barkley Marathons will be held, as it has in year’s past, April Fools weekend.
The Canadian has contested the 100-plus-mile legendary race the past two years, dropping out on the fifth loop in 2016 before his famous return in 2017. Last April, he got lost in the thick brush and disorienting weather conditions of Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee and took the incorrect route back to the finish line, arriving at camp six seconds past the 60-hour mark.
Robbins, a race director for several B.C. trail events including the Squamish 50, recently completed Nolan’s 14, a series of 14 summits in Colorado, a feat that has been rarely accomplished. His Q&A with Suunto comes on the heels of the release for Where Dreams Go To Die, a film, by Ethan Newberry, also known as the Ginger Runner, about Robbins, the Barkley and the training that goes behind preparing for the annual race.
In the event’s history, which dates back to the 1980s, 15 people have finished the Barkley Marathons, a series of five 20-mile loops that must be completed cumulatively within 60 hours. As the course changes each year, the exact distance is often believed to be much longer than 100 miles (160K).
Of course, Robbins will have to go through the secretive entry process to be selected for the 2018 Barkley Marathons.