Could ultra-runner Jasmin Paris be the first-ever female to finish the iconic Barkley Marathons? The man behind the event Laz Lake (aka Gary Cantrell) certainly seems to think so, if his comments in a recent interview with the Bad Boy Running team are anything to go by.
In an interview for the popular running podcast, Laz says: “I’m excited about this woman who won The Spine. I was so excited I went back and looked through all the applications that had been sent in for the Barkley and there was another Jasmin, but it wasn’t her. Maybe she could do it.
“Women who have elite credentials who have a chance, I’m sure as hell going to get them in. The exciting thing was, it seems like [Jasmin] would have a lot of the different things you need. When a woman who finishes it, it’s not going to be a woman who finishes to prove a woman can finish it. It will be to prove she can finish it. You need to be in it for yourself.”
Jasmin Paris certainly has the credentials to be in with a chance. The 35-year-old hit the headlines earlier this year when she won the Spine Race, which is described as one of the toughest endurance races on the planet. It’s a 268-mile trail race across The Pennine Way in the middle of the British winter. Jasmin won the race outright this year in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds. Oh, and she expressed milk during the event too.
While her victory at the Spine Race shot her into the limelight outside of the ultra-running world, she’s been a prolific ultra runner for some time. She was the Skyrunner World Extreme Series Champion in 2016 and in the same year took two-and-a-half hours off the women’s bob Graham Round record.
All about Barkley
The Barkley Marathons is a whole different kind of challenge, however. Only 35-40 runners get a coveted slot each year, with hundreds of applications. The vast majority don’t complete the full 100-mile (ish) race. Some manage the ‘fun run’ of ‘just’ 60 (ish) miles. In fact, only 15 people since 1995 have completed the race (with 18 total finishes, as some have finished more than once). The race route varies year on year, but is equally brutal and unforgiving.
The interview with Bad Boy Running gives an insight into the mad world of Laz and the Barkley Marathons. The two-part interview also covers how come competitors have tried to cheat in the past, what happens when you try to enter the event, Laz’s future plans and other behind-the-scenes nuggets.