Glenn Kasper 2021 Barkley Marathons Race Report
Twas night before Barkley, when all through the park
Not a creature was stirring, not even a lark
The runners were nestled all snug in their beds;
As hopes of five loops danced in their heads
The race packs were not hung by fires with care,
The threat of wind and rain made them all beware
All had hopes the conch would wait till morn
As the tents and trees were wet, tattered and torn
And Sandra in her ‘kerchief, and Laz with his cap,
Had just settled in for a short restless nap
When two hours after midnight there arose such a clatter,
All runners but one jumped to see what was the matter.
Away to the gate all but the one dashed in a flash,
After opening their rain flys and moving the sash.
They ran to the gate and collected their watch
The bearded man laughed and snickered as he pulled each from his sack
One hour from the conch to their sleepy eyes did appear,
But a conch blower and bugler and some elite runners near,
With a long beard flowing, he made all the runners quake.
They knew in a moment he must be Lazarus Lake.
He droned on and on of great runners of old
Who are no longer with us we were sadly told
And then he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Nikolai! now Jam Jam! now Courtney and Miss Canty!
On, Jared! on, Luke! on Pavel! and Maggie!
On Ian, Mr Campbell and that sacrificial bib one
To the top of bird! Phillips creek and Garden spot
down buttslide, Hirams spa past Bobcat rock
Rat Jaw, Little hell, the prison and Indian head
And two more secret places that can’t really be said
Back at the camp to laugh at your pain and failure we’ll wait
For you to admit your defeat at the infamous yellow gate
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all he fret!!
Just after lighting that infamous camel cigarette.
So up towards the mountains the coursers they urged
With a pack full of food they all methodically surged.
The wind and the rain felt as the wild hurricane fly,
When they met with an obstacle, they ran to the top;
Hours later in a twinkling, I heard echos from the cliffs
The bugler proudly announcing the first DNFs.
As I drew in my head, and ascended to the gate,
Lacking five pages and thirty minutes late.
He was dressed all in plaid… from his head to his belt,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A cigarette in his mouth with a smile under his beard,
And he looked like a pedler but so jolly and so so weird.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as grey as a wolf
The stump of a camel he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and his tongue quick as a whip
He was so fast to conjure up a
He was not chubby and plump, not quite jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He asked me to tell stories and recap my race
I got lost on book seven and fell way behind pace.
After that the rain finally stopped but the bugler did not.
Thirty two bugled taps later and the race would stop
All had high hopes for elites, Jerad and Luke
But in the end they proved the conditions a fluke
So no trophies were given but all enjoyed the pain
The course had won again he would so proudly exclaim
After final taps he spoke not a word, went straight to his work,
And after laughing at all the carnage he turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, down the camp road he drove;
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight—
“Happy Barkley to all, and to all a DNF!”
More about the Barkleys
If you have an appetite for more:
- 2021 Barkley Runners
- Women of the 2021 Barkley
- Noé Castañón 2021 Barkley Race Report
- Barkley Finish Stats
- People of the Barkley (Barkers)
- Terms & Quick Reference
- Top 10 Barkley Documentaries
Good luck Out There!