The following 2019 Barkley Marathons report by RD and Barkley founder Gary Cantrell (aka Lazarus Lake) is re-printed with permission. The original post was on the Barkley mailing list on April 5th, 2019.
so the 2019 barkley marathons is in the books….
and the brushy mountains flexed their muscles one more time.
the score for the day: barkley 40 humans 0
in a stellar field (perhaps the strongest yet assembled at frozen head) several things worked against the humans.
first, the field was laced with virgins…
and, in the end, it was virgins leading the way thru loop 3 and into loop 4.
the barkley is notoriously unkind to virgins.
second, there is no way to truly appreciate the capricious nature of frozen head weather without having experienced it.
regardless of any pre-race warnings,
runners heading out into the sunny 80 degree temperatures of saturday afternoon
could scarcely envision that they would be running thru snow in blizzard winds and 15 degree temperatures before the next 20 mile loop was complete….
it wasn’t the snow that got them, tho.
it was the hours of colder and colder rain, hail, sleet, and finally snow,
along with high winds that paved the way to it.
the wind beat us around in camp pretty good,
but that was just eddies curling down into the valley.
the roar of the serious winds above the thermocline sounded like a jet airplane was taking off partway up the mountain.
there is nothing that quite matches frozen head’s microclimate anywhere else in Tennessee.
probably not many places anywhere in the world.
a 65 degree (36 degrees C) temperature swing in 12 hours presents unique challenges to the body’s temperature regulating mechanisms,
and complicating that with tens of thousands of feet in elevation change was enough to overwhelm most of the field.
to further complicate things,
2019 was time for one of those major course modifications
that leaves us room for the annual tweaks that keep the barkley fresh and fun.
the runners hardly missed the testicle spectacle and pighead creek,
as they were amply compensated with the return of little hell,
and a brand new challenge posed by the meat grinder.
a one-eyed, hunchbacked ogre,
with yellowed teeth and long, razor sharp claws,
lying in wait to crush the hopes of would-be fun runners,
the meat grinder is poised to take its place among the legendary hills of the barkley.
as always, when a major alteration is enacted,
there are accusations that raw dog has “gone too far” this time….
a few numbers can add clarity to that discussion;
last year’s race was the final one on the previous basic course outline.
it was the same basic course that saw three finishers in 2012
(the year of perfect weather… anything *is* possible at frozen head)
and 9 of the 15 grabbed their finishes on this course.
comparing 2019 to 2018
2018: 26 runners finished one loop
2019: 28 one loop finishers
2018: loop 1 winning time: 8:38:08
2019: loop 1 winning time: 8:31:49
2018 : 22 runners started loop 2
2019: 22 runners started loop 2
2018: loop 2 winning time: 23:05:35
2019 loop 2 winning time: 21:02:54
2018: 1 fun run in 36:12:54
2019: 6 fun runs,the first in 35:40:18
as one disappointed drop after another said in the aftermath;
this course is finishable…
you just cannot make any mistakes.
(like not carrying your arctic survival kit, just because it is 80 degrees and sunshine when you start your loop)
in 1995, mark williams led off the first barkley 100 finish with a lap around 8:20…
the more things change,
the more they stay the same.
here is the straight scoop on 2019:
1 John Kelly TN 8:31:49
2 Guillaume Calmettes CA 8:32:35
3 Jamille Coury AZ 8:48:27
4 Karel Sabbe BEL 9:27:49
5 Grieg Hamilton NZL 9:33:37
6 Remy Jegard FRA 9:46:11
7 Johan Steene SWE 9:46:30
8 Mikael Heerman FIN 9:46:31
9 Santiago Pinto COL 9:56:38
10 Tomokazu Ohara JPN 9:56:45
11 Paul Giblin SCT 10:01:41
12 Mark Laveson CA 10:27:08
13 Steve Slaby MD 10:38:20
14 James Elson GBR 10:38:21
15 Jared Campbell UT 10:38:26
16 Gavin Woody WA 10:38:27
17 Jodi Isenor NS 10:46:36
18 Stephanie Case AFG 11:32:51
19 Mig Panhuysen NED 11:32:52
20 Nicky Spinks ENG 11:32:53
21 Billy Reed NIR 11:32:54
22 Benoit Laval FRA 11:39:12
23 Valery Causserieu FRA 11:50:03
24 Hisayuki Tateno JPN 13:08:54
25 Ed Thomas SD 13:11:26
26 Dale Holdaway IL 13:11:27
27 Zach Gingerich OR 13:13:15
28 Maggie Guterl PA 13:13:16
1 Kelly 21:02:54
2 Calmettes 21:11:44
3 Hamilton 22:06:31
4 Sabbe 22:57:19
5 Steene 24:20:10
6 Coury 24:21:23
7 Ohara 24:25:26
1 Sabbe 35:40:18
2 Hamilton 35:41:58
3 Calmettes 36:03:49
4 Ohara 39:38:34
5 Coury 39:38:35
6 Steene 39:38:36
More Barkley Stuff
If you see any other race reports buy runners or crew, or particularly good recaps, let me know. And as always, if you want to learn more about the Barkley, check out the following:
- Barkley Finish Stats
- People of the Barkley (Barkers)
- Terms & Quick Reference
- Top 10 Barkley Documentaries
Peace, and good luck Out There.