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.
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:
The 2020 Barkley Marathons has been canceled. #BM100
— Keith (@keithdunn) 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.
|1988||0. Ed Furtaw||NA||1st Fun Run|
|1995||1. Mark Williams||59:28:48||CR|
|2001||2. David Horton *||58:21:00||CR|
|3. Blake Wood *||58:21:01|
|2003||4. Ted “Cave Dog” Keizer||56:57:52||CR|
|2004||5. Mike Tilden||57:25:18|
|6. Jim Nelson||57:28:25|
|2008||7. Brian Robinson||55:42:27||CR|
|2009||8. Andrew Thompson||57:37:19|
|2010||9. Jonathan Basham||59:18:44|
|2011||10. Brett Maune (1)||57:13:33|
|2012||11. Brett Maune (2)||52:03:08||CR|
|12. Jared Campbell (1)||56:00:16|
|13. John Fegyveresi||59:41:21||SKT|
|2013||14. Nick Hollon||57:39:24|
|15. Travis Wildeboer||58:41:45|
|2014||16. Jared Campbell (2)||57:53:20|
|2016||17. Jared Campbell (3)||59:32:30|
|2017||18. John Kelly||59:30:53|
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||(#) Name||FR Time||Notes|
|1991||1. Suzi Thibeault||34:32:34|
|2. Nancy Hamilton||34:32:36|
|1993||3. Nancy Hamilton (2)||35:18|
|1994||4. Suzi Thibeault (2)||36:30|
|5. P.J. Salmonson||36:30|
|1999||6. Leslie Hunt||47:48 (OT)||DNF|
|2000||7. Sue Johnston||32:57:56|
|8. Eliza McClean||37:19:08|
|2001||9. Sue Johnston (2)||33:44:01|
|2012||10. Beverly Anderson-Abbs||34:29:10|
|2013||11. Beverly Anderson-Abbs (2)||39:09:48|
|Totals||10 FR Finishes|
6 Unique Finishers
Note that the first woman to complete a lap was Linda Sledge in 1987.
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: