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2020 Barkley — Will Anyone Ever Finish The Race Again?

In the world of ultra-marathoning, no race is more fabled, feared or filthy as the Barkley. Inspired by the frantic escape of a notorious murderer, limited to a select group of participants and defiantly averse to support or celebration, Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell’s annual event is unlike anything else. No one has successfully finished the race since 2017 — and it’s safe to say no one would be surprised if the 2020 installment once again breaks the hearts of everyone involved.

Typically completed within a 60-hour period in late March or early April of each year, details of Barkley are proudly, defiantly hard to come by. Good luck getting much information from the “official website,” which seems to have last been updated around the same time “Moonlight” upset “La La Land” at the Oscars. Instead, for details on the race that “eats its young,” most folks seem to look to Keith Dunn, a loyal Barkley supporter who (unofficially?) seems to post the most reliable information about Barkley.

On February 28, Dunn tweeted: “Seems there are a lot of people hanging around a yellow gate the last couple days. #BM100,” seemingly signaling that race time was closing in. But in true Barkley spirit, he then said about a week later: “I’ve already tweeted the final results for this year. There will be no finishers.” So, don’t get your hopes up.

Which means, of course, that the racing community is indeed getting its hopes up. “It’s almost time for the one (!!!!) sporting event I follow,” tweeted Canadian race fan Rachel Schwarz (@rachelschwarz). “Every year I’m glued to twitter for a few days of hitting the refresh button and seeing if anyone escapes the jaws of the Barkley Marathon alive.”

Promising that they’ll be watching, Pieter Meere (@PieterMeere) replied: “My wife and I have taken a few extra days off for the #BM100. Yes, both last weekends,” adding: “We do expect a lot of finishers, mild conditions, singing in the woods, gnomes helping runners in need. What could possibly go wrong in Frozen Head?”

The response, of course, is that plenty can go wrong. Limited to 40 runners, entry details are typically top secret but include some combination of an essay, a $1.60 entry fee and additional requirements. After receiving a “letter of condolence” telling the athletes they’ve made the cut, the person least likely to finish one lap of the race is deemed the “human sacrifice,” and when Cantrell lights a cigarette, the race begins. Although certain variables are subject to change, the race currently consists of a 20-mile unmarked loop — no aid stations, two water points, runners going back and forth on the loop, night and day.

Out of more than 1,000 starts, the 100-mile race has been completed within the 60-mile cutoff by only 15 runners. In 2017, Vancouver’s Gary Robbins finished six seconds after the 60-hour cut-off time — although a wrong-turn likely would have disqualified him anyway. Could this be the year he finally conquers Barkley?

“Gary [Robbins] has to finish this year and Courtney [Dauwalter] will be the first female finisher next year,” predicts a fan named Jonah (@jeunomatic). “She will team up with Jared Campbell for the first 2 loops. Campbell’s comeback year will see him beat Maune’s record by some 30 mins. You heard it here first.”

Campbell is best known as the only person to ever finish Barkley three times — a 2019 attempt at a fourth finish fell short. Brett Maune, meanwhile, holds the course record with 52:03:08, which he set in 2012.  As a third straight year threatens to end Barkley without a finisher, such performances seem increasingly impossible. Nevertheless, there appears to be hope — albeit, from the most unlikely source.

“Apparently laz has gone on record as saying there will be a finisher this year,” tweeted Dunn last week. “I’m on record as saying there won’t be. History suggests I am right.”

At this point, anything further is speculation — and seems to reflect more on the glass half full/glass half empty nature of the commenter than any sort of actual, tangible insider information.

“There will be 2 Finishers and the first woman,” tweeted a fan named empariyon (@Andreas42628876). “I feel it, yes … there is a spirit 2020.”

“I’m with you Keith,” replied Greg Doran. “But something always tells me Laz is not to be denied.”

Perhaps (most likely?) jokingly, Dunn suggested something that may threaten to become a reality if Barkleys keep going down without any finishers — albeit, most likely over the founder’s dead body. “I mean,” he tweeted. “laz could make the course easier . . .”

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Javelina Jundred 2018

Javelina Jundred 2018: a signature ultra in the Arizona desert, a costumed running party…

Javelina Jundred: A costumed running party:

This weekend, for the 16th annual Javelina Jundred, a fun-loving tribe again settled in the Sonoran Desert just northeast of Scottsdale. Together, just over a thousand inhabitants to this temporary oasis ran races, danced, feasted, and laughed. Many came to compete in the weekend’s races, the longest being the 100 mile, five-loop circuit.

Yet many flock to Javelina expressly to join in the merriment, and to offer support for those undergoing the grueling battle on the trail –– Such is the spirit of Javelina Jundred. It’s a party, a party of the best kind.

The Javelina Jundred 2018

A bunny hops by on the Javelina Jundred 2018 trail.

The Javelina Jundred course features an arid, open landscape with classic southwestern desert motifs —Saguaro cacti, rocky footholds, and drastic temperature shifts. While the balmy sun might sear at a steady 90℉ during the day, nightly temperatures can reach as low as the 30s. Each loop also has an elevation gain of 1,500 feet, for a total gain of over 7900 feet throughout the race. There is a 30hr cut-off for participants to be listed as official finishers and gain their finisher’s belt buckle, while those who finish under 24hrs receive the famous Javelina sub-24 belt buckle.

Patrick Reagan has again won the Men’s 100 mile with a time of 13:42:59. Although Reagan performed faster last year, his result this year still represents the third-fasted completion ever. Canadian runner Dave Stevens finished in second with 15:39:30, while third place goes to Kenneth Hawkes with 16:22:09.

Leading the Women’s Results, the celebrated Darcy Piceu crossed the finish with a time of 18:49:06. Dana Anderson finished in second with a time of 19:31:06, and Tonya Keyes took third with a time of 19:50:53. This year’s 100 mile event had 604 participants, of which 367 qualified as finishers. This year 141 participants qualified as sub-24 finishers.

The 100-Mile Party Run event consists of three of the 100 mile event’s five loops. Results for the 100K are led by Jacob Jackson (08:55:05), and Charli Mckee (09:47:43), for the men’s and women’s categories, respectively. There were a total of 262 participants in the 100 KM event. Of those, 199 qualified as finishers by completing the course in under 29 hours.

In this weekend’s races there were people of all walks of life, and among the runners there were many smiles and such vibrance of character. There were older runners such as 65 year-old James Ehasz. Yet there was also the fifteen year old finisher, Luke Sanchez. The races are set up “washing machine style,” wherein loops reverse direction. Day and night passing runners greeted each other, waved, cheered each other on.

The weekend also includes the Jackass Night Trail. Born of the revelry of Jackass Junction, the event’s most famed and lively aid station, the Jackass Night Trail provides more casual attendees an opportunity to experience Javelina by running one or two of the trail’s loops at night, for distances of 31 KM and 62 KM, respectively. The Night Trail events were festive and colorful, with hundreds of costumes.

Javelina Jundred

A scene near the Javelina Jeadquarters.

One can’t help but think of these desert festivities –– the costumed dashes, the wonderful people, the quirky prizes, the dancing –– and already reminisce. It is Monday; today there is work, and already the fleeting tent-hamlet of Javelina is packed and loaded.

Yet the “The 100-Mile Party Run” sends us into the last days of October enlivened and ready for the holiday seasons. And indeed, into the final race of the Ultra Trail ® World Tour, Ultra Trail Capetown, on November 30th. Stay tuned.

To read more about this race click here. Or here to see this year’s results

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Big's Backyard Ultra

Big’s Backyard Ultra 2018

Big’s Backyard Ultra: inconceivable endurance, seasoned regulars, and an idiosyncratic racing format: this distinctive ultra is a sight to behold.
This Saturday, October 20th,is the (in)famous Big Dog Backyard Ultra, in Bedford County, Tennessee. An ostensibly simple race, Big Dog has been described as one of the most mentally and strategically complex races in the world – contestants run a 4.1 mile loop every hour, day or night, nonstop. The last man or woman standing is crowned the victor.
The race is not so much about competition, since contestants are tied at first at the beginning of every lap. Big Dog is a course in psychological endurance and forward thinking; go too fast, and you’ll wear yourself out precipitously; go too slow, and you might miss the cut-off for the next race. The event is hosted by Lazarus Lake, of Barkley Marathon lore. In fact, the prize for winning Big Dog is a spot in Barkley.
IRun4Ultra got a chance to speak with Guillaume Calmettes, last year’s winner, before the race. For his 2017 victory, Guillaume ran 246 miles. To put that in perspective, that’s 59 loops, and 59 hours, of running…
Click here [link] to listen to our conversation about the race, Guillaume’s life in Los Angeles, and the role that running plays in Guillaume’s life.
Also of interest: click here to see Guillaume’s inspiring running stats, or here to see his results from last year’s race.
 
 

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Salomon Women’s Running Shoes

The salomon womens running shoes , If you love trail races up to 50 km or even 50 miles, you will definitely love this universal trail running shoe!

The Women’s Salomon Sense Ride shoe is the new multi trail running shoe model for Salomon that is known to be the most popular and ideal shoe on the market these days when it comes to comfort, ride, protection, and grip. It is is ideal for running junkies that like an 8mm drop trail running shoe.

Stats:

Stack: 27mm in the heel and 19mm in the forefoot

Weight for Women’s shoes: 8.8oz

Heel-To-Toe-Drop: 8.0mm

Heel Cushioning: Moderate

Forefront Height: Low | 20.9 mm

Forefront Cushioning: Firm

Flexibility: Flexible

Stability Features: Few

Energy Return: Less

Features:

This The salomon womens running shoes features a spacious toe-box which differentiates itself from past models in the Salomon brand. It’s minimal exoskeleton helps with the support and durability but does not compromise its ventilating properties. The midsole contains Compressed EVA with softer insert to disperse shock vibrations and the outsole is lined with Salomon’s Premium Wet Traction Contragrip. It’s cushioned and responsive without the bulky aesthetic.

Inside the Women’s Salomon Sense Ride Framework:

Within the shoe, a layer comfortably cradles the heel while a flexible tongue wraps upward from the footbed and molds around your foot completely. The Orthrolite insert allows any other hotspots missed by the exoskeleton to be disbursed for little to no impact feel on the foot. As for the protection of the ankles, the Sense Ride W inner sock wraps over the collar protect the rubbing of the heel and/or ankle bones.

The two midsole components help with movements over blocks of rock, making the feet feel protected and the bidirectional lugs enable quick acceleration with responsive breaking. Therefore, traction on all surfaces is not clunky and helps with smooth transition to the trailhead.

Consistent Features:

Similar to past Salomon running shoes, the iconic Quicklace system is promised in the engaging shoe, “pull it, tuck it, and forget it.”. This reassures that throughout a full day on the trail, the laces won’t budge!

They are also tested in drying properties. These shoes are also quite instantaneous when they are submerged or soaked, making them the fastest drying shoe in the market.

Improvements:

The narrow build affects the stability and a wider platform would help with the ride better.

Extra cushioning in the forefoot would help for longer ultras. This would reduce the heel-to-drop which would make it in the 4-6mm range known as the runner sweet spot.

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