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Barkley Marathons, Outdoors, Running

Barkley Marathons Finish Stats

Barkley Yellow gate

The Yellow Gate, Courtesy of Finally Found Something I love

Every year in the early Spring, exact date unknown until near the end of winter, ultra running eyes turn toward eastern Tennessee and the Barkley Marathons. Who’s running this year? Do they have a chance? Will there be any Barkley Marathons finishers for the Fun Run, let alone the whole race, and could it be a woman this time? So many questions.

As the Barkleys approach each year, I flip through Ed’s book and browse Matt’s website, looking for hints about what’s to come by studying what came before. Who’s been Out There, and where did they the come from? How could they have finished the hardest race ever held in Frozen Head State Park (and possibly the world)? Those questions have answers.

This post is meant as a quick and annually updated summary of all past Barkley finishes and finishers; just a quick reference look at those who’ve been past the Yellow Gate and back again, sometimes more than once. Enjoy.

Barkley Marathons Finishes

Here are the fastest Fun Run finish and overall race winner times for every year of the Big Barkley. As time goes on, the table will link to race summaries for each year and brief bios of each of the speediest runners. All data is from Ed’s book, Matt’s site, ultra signup and other sites. As you might suspect, “Starters” is the most suspect number, and is probably wrong most of the time.

YearStartersFun Run
(3 Loops)
Best
Time
Finishes
(5 Loops)
Winning
Time
Comments
198613NANA
198716NANA
1988191Furtaw
32:14:50
NANA1st FR
198914
1990295Horton
26:22:39
19913710Herr
25:53:13
1992202Robison
28:01:36
19933211Pilon
26:55:236
1994341Horton
23:49:40
1995396Possert
28:52:57
1Williams
59:28:48
1st Finish
1996342Wilson
34:58:48
1997313 *Dobies
38:38:52
1998355Horton
30:23:00
1999333Wood
33:19:46
2000357Wood
31:00:29
20013510Horton
31:18:12
2 *Horton
58:21:00
DQ Mess
2002NANANANANANo Race
2003333Keizer
32:15:51
1Keizer
56:57:52
2004327Horton
30:57:09
2Tilden
57:25:18
2005332Nelson
32:48:53
200633
2007354Robinson
31:21:31
2008357Robinson
29:59:49
1Robinson
55:42:27
2009403Thompson
30:51:33
1Thompson
57:37:19
201027+3Basham
32:24:37
1Basham
59:18:44
201126+9Maune
31:51:28
1Maune
57:13:33
201233+8Maune
29:01:07
3Maune
52:03:08
2013405Hollon
32:56:15
2Hollon
57:39:24
2014415Campbell
30:23:26
1Campbell
57:53:20
2015402Coury
32:57:08
2016408Campbell
31:27:16
1Campbell
59:32:30
3x Finisher
2017406Kelly
32:58:49
1Kelly
59:30:53
Gary!!!
2018441Robbins
36:12:54
2019426Karel Sabbe
35:40:18
202000NACanceled
Coronavirus
Totals1,060+145?Horton
23:49:40
18Maune
52:03:08

Selected Finishes Notes

Starters, Fun Runs and Finisher totals are NOT uniques; they are gross totals. So, while there have been 18 total finishes of the Barkley, there have only been 15 unique individual finishers.

2020. Barkley Cancelled due to Coronavirus, as per Keith Dunn on Twitter on March 16, 2020:

 

2012. The year of three finishes and a new, amazing course record by Brett Maune.

The goal this time around was to try and break Flyin‟ Brian‟s course record. To do this my training objective was to achieve a level of fitness such that I could theoretically break the record even if Laz implemented a nightmare course change which increased loop time by 10%. Given the unpredictability of the Barkley I desperately wanted to have as much of a “fitness cushion” as possible. – Brett Maune

2008. Brian Robinson sets a Course Record that holds for four years.

Starting in the dark at 6:06am [On Loop 5], I decided to do Loop 5 clockwise. The first navigational challenges are farther out and easier to solve in that direction. I also find that the North Boundary Trail is best to do when fresh. It’s possible to really cruise on it. Marching up and down Zip Line and Big Hell is slow no matter what. – Brian Robinson

2001. Both finishers were technically supposed to be DQ’d for accidentally using an old and specifically prohibited part of the course, but they appear in stats as “unofficial” finishers. Sure, it’s confusing, but it’s the Barkleys. Easy is for Western States.

1988. Two racers were disqualified for short-cutting loops.

Barkley Marathons Finishers

Whether you think the number is 15 (as of 2018) or 13 (excluding the controversial 2001 finishers), there sure aren’t a whole lot. It takes a special kind of crazy to finish the Barkleys, and at least two alumni–Campbell and Maune–have done it multiple times. That’s exponential crazy, crazy turned to eleven, plaid crazy with briars on top. It’s also hell’a impressive.

I’ve included Ed Furtaw as the Zeroth finisher, because he was the first to finish the Fun Run, ever, and that made the full five loops seem possible. Without Ed’s first-ever finish of three loops, the five loop total would have seemed impossible in 1989 and possibly for many years thereafter. But he’s not included in the totals.

Year(#) NameTimeNotes
19880. Ed FurtawNA1st Fun Run
19951. Mark Williams59:28:48CR
20012. David Horton *58:21:00CR
3. Blake Wood *58:21:01
20034. Ted “Cave Dog” Keizer56:57:52CR
20045. Mike Tilden57:25:18
6. Jim Nelson57:28:25
20087. Brian Robinson55:42:27CR
20098. Andrew Thompson57:37:19
20109. Jonathan Basham59:18:44
201110. Brett Maune (1)57:13:33
201211. Brett Maune (2)52:03:08CR
12. Jared Campbell (1)56:00:16
13. John Fegyveresi59:41:21SKT
201314. Nick Hollon57:39:24
15. Travis Wildeboer58:41:45
201416. Jared Campbell (2)57:53:20
201617. Jared Campbell (3)59:32:30
201718. John Kelly59:30:53
Totals

18 Finishes
15 Unique Finishers

Maune
52:03:08

Selected Finisher Notes

John Fegyveresi’s got the SKT (Slowest Known Time) just because it’s funny. At least someone might break that record someday soon. But will anyone beat Brett Maune’s FKT anytime as in ever? I have no idea.

According to Laz, the first person to finish, Mark Williams, was also the first to finish on his first attempt, which is impressive in it’s own right. Must have had good virgins to learn from?

When Will a Woman Finish?

Soon, I hope. I think John Kelly’s essay on the subject is the best analysis I’ve seen. There’s no reason a woman can’t finish, other than it just being hard. Weather and circumstances permitting, it’s inevitable. Here for the record are the best women’s performances thus far (Fun Run finishers):

Year(#) NameFR TimeNotes
19911. Suzi Thibeault34:32:34
2. Nancy Hamilton34:32:36
19933. Nancy Hamilton (2)35:18
19944. Suzi Thibeault (2)36:30
5. P.J. Salmonson36:30
19996. Leslie Hunt47:48 (OT)DNF
20007. Sue Johnston32:57:56
8. Eliza McClean37:19:08
20019. Sue Johnston (2)33:44:01
201210. Beverly Anderson-Abbs34:29:10
201311. Beverly Anderson-Abbs (2)39:09:48
Totals10 FR Finishes
6 Unique Finishers
Sue Johnston
32:57:56

Note that the first woman to complete a lap was Linda Sledge in 1987.

Input Welcome

As always, if you have questions for see room for improvement, let me know in the comments below. If you want to learn more about the Barkley, check out the following:

Peace.

11 Comments

  1. lazarus lake

    the number of starters is definitely off, but we would never give you a truthful answer anyway.

  2. lazarus lake

    me too. it is a very strong field.

  3. lazarus lake

    10 finishes, 6 women….
    over time is not a finish!

  4. Jacob waltermire

    I’m curious to know the age of each finisher.

  5. Graham Connolly

    Is Andrew Thompson the first person to finish on their first attempt? I think that might be the case. Maybe worth a mention if so.

  6. lazarus lake

    the first finisher, mark williams of england, finished on his first attempt.

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