Barkley Marathons – as many as seven runners start loop four of five, clock is ticking

The Barkley Marathon 2023 has started. (Picture: Twitter Geert van Nispen)

This year’s Barkley Marathons looks set to be a very special edition: no fewer than seven runners have started the fourth of five loops, making more runners than ever in the race to cross the coveted finish line after 160 kilometers.

Completing three loops, in which the seven runners thus succeeded, is known as completing the “Fun Run” and thus already constitutes a first goal in itself. This year the participants are lucky with good conditions: it is cold, but sunny. Among the seven runners still in the race is Jasmin Paris, the second woman ever to start the fourth loop at all.

For the past seven years, no one has crossed the finish line of the Barkley Marathons: five 32-kilometer loops – 160 kilometers in total – through inhospitable terrain and with a basically countless amount of elevation gain. For each loop, participants have 12 hours to complete the lap; otherwise, they are eliminated from the race. At the time of writing, runners still have about nineteen hours to complete the 160 kilometers.