No finisher at the Barkley Marathons again this year (also, no race)
Even the legendary Barkley Marathons couldn't make it through a pandemic. The Tennessee ultramarathon was called yesterday and remains without a finisher to the race since John Kelly in 2017.
The ultra trail race was set to take place later this month or early April in Frozen Head State Park. The 100-mile course is limited to 60 hours. It's considered one of the toughest races on the planet in part because it is both physically and mentally exhausting.
There is always a great deal of interest in the race, and this year was no different as Canadian ultra trail runner Gary Robbins was set to make his return to the race after a long recovery from injury.
Robbins hinted that the race would likely be cancelled with a social media post on March 14, but also said that he was ready and was nearing peak fitness in his training.
"I feel like this might be the fittest I’ve ever been heading into the race. Certainly, it’s the best my legs have ever felt at this point in time. Having missed almost two years due to injury, but continuing to train over 500 hours on the bike in 2019, seems to have done nothing but strengthened my body overall," he wrote.
Race founder Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell was working hard to try to make the race happen, even after the U.S. travel ban resulted in a number of European runners having to cancel.
Without a doubt, "Laz" will be back soon enough to enact his unique brand of punishment on unsuspecting runners who might think a run in the Tennessee woods sounds like fun.