The 2024 Barkley Marathons in Wartburg, Tennessee has concluded with some quite frankly remarkable achievements. This year we watched in awe as the UK’s Jasmin Paris achieved a historical feat becoming the first woman ever to finish the event, clocking in at an impressive time of 59 hours, 58 minutes, and 21 seconds – just 99 seconds away from the cut-off of 60 hours.

In the men’s race, Ihor Verys representing Ukraine (based in Canada) secured the top position. Following him, John Kelly from the U.S. claimed the second spot, with Jared Campbell, also from the U.S., taking third place, and Greig Hamilton from New Zealand finishing fourth.

But let’s take a closer look at the epic challenge and learn more about Jasmin Paris, the first woman to ever beat it!

About the Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathons is an infamously gruelling ultramarathon race held annually in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee. Created by Gary Cantrell, also known as “Lazarus Lake,” this event is renowned for its extreme difficulty and unconventional format. Unlike traditional marathons, the Barkley Marathons doesn’t have a set distance, with participants navigating through five unmarked loops in the rugged terrain of the park. Each loop is approximately 20 miles long, making the total distance around 100 miles, though the exact distance and elevation gain vary from year to year.

What sets the Barkley Marathons apart is its challenging nature, characterized by steep climbs, treacherous terrain, dense vegetation, and unpredictable weather conditions. The race is intentionally designed to push participants to their physical and mental limits, with a strict cutoff time for each loop and limited aid available along the course. Due to its difficulty, completing the Barkley Marathons is considered one of the most prestigious achievements in the world of ultrarunning, with only a handful of runners managing to finish within the 60-hour time limit since its inception in 1986.

The first woman to complete it

Jasmin Paris made history on 22nd March 2024 as we witnessed her utter determination and grit to see her cross the finish line at this iconic ultra-endurance race. She has etched her name into the event’s annals as the first woman ever to conquer its demanding course. Facing the rugged wilderness of Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, Paris displayed remarkable determination and resilience as she navigated through the treacherous terrain and gruelling conditions. Her achievement not only showcased her extraordinary physical prowess but also shattered longstanding gender barriers in the world of ultra-distance running. By conquering the Barkley Marathons, Paris not only made a personal triumph but also left an indelible mark on the history of the sport, inspiring runners around the globe with her trailblazing feat.

 

Jasmin’s long list of achievements

Jasmin Paris is renowned for her exceptional achievements in the world of ultra-distance running. Apart from this most recent historic victory at the Barkley Marathons, she has numerous other notable accomplishments:

  1. Montane Spine Race Record: In 2019, Paris, then sponsored by inov-8, set a new course record at the Montane Spine Race, a 268-mile ultramarathon along the Pennine Way in the UK. She completed the formidable race in an astonishing time of 83 hours, 12 minutes, and 23 seconds, becoming the first woman to win the overall race. Not only was this an achievement in itself, but she was also breastfeeding!
  2. UTMB: Paris has also performed exceptionally well in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), one of the most prestigious ultramarathons in the world. In 2016, she finished third in the UTMB, solidifying her status as one of the top ultra-runners globally.
  3. Bob Graham Round Record: In 2016, Paris set a new women’s record for the Bob Graham Round, a 66-mile fell running challenge in the Lake District of England. She completed the route, which includes 42 peaks, in a remarkable time of 15 hours and 24 minutes.
  4. Fell Running: Paris has excelled in various fell running events, winning numerous races and championships in the UK. Her speed and endurance in navigating challenging mountain terrain have earned her widespread recognition in the fell running community.
  5. Academic Achievements: In addition to her athletic prowess, Paris is also a skilled veterinarian and researcher. She balances her demanding training and racing schedule with her professional career, showcasing her remarkable dedication and time-management skills.

Jasmin Paris’s impressive list of achievements highlights her versatility, endurance, and determination as an athlete, making her a revered figure in the world of ultrarunning, along with the likes of Courtney Dauwalter and Camille Herron, they are really raising the bar and inspiring women across the world to take on epic challenges.