Scottish woman is the first woman to finish 160 km extreme race in the USA – 03/24/2024 – Sport

Scottish woman is the first woman to finish 160 km extreme race in the USA – 03/24/2024 – Sport


Runner Jasmin Paris on Friday became the first woman to complete the Barkley Marathon, an extreme race that requires participants, in a rural area of ​​Tennessee, to navigate 100 miles of rugged terrain in no more than 60 hours.

Paris, 40, from Midlothian, Scotland, finished the race with 99 seconds to spare, becoming one of just 20 people to complete the Barkley since it was extended to 100 miles in 1989. She was one of five to finish this year , from a total of 40 registered.

At the end of the race, Paris collapsed to the ground in front of a yellow gate that marks the beginning and end of the event, which consists of five laps of approximately 20 miles each.

“The final minutes were so intense, after all that effort, it came down to an uphill sprint, with every fiber in my body screaming for me to stop,” Paris said in an email.

Her legs were covered in cuts and scrapes when she reached the end of the race, which was the subject of a 2014 documentary, “The Race That Eats Its Young.”

“I didn’t even know if I had made it when I touched the gate,” he added. “I gave everything I had to get there and then I collapsed, panting.”

She attempted the race in 2022 and 2023 and became the first woman to reach the fourth round since 2001. Although she didn’t complete the event in those years, she said she felt more confident and experienced entering the race on Friday.

In 2019, Paris, an ultrarunner and veterinarian, became the first woman to win the Montane Spine Race, a 270-mile ultramarathon in the United Kingdom. She broke the previous course record by 12 hours, despite stopping at checkpoints to pump breast milk for her newborn.

Barkley began in 1986 after its founder, Gary Cantrell, learned about the prison break of James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Ray fled eight miles over 54 hours through the Tennessee wilderness. Cantrell thought he could do better and began mapping routes within Frozen Head State Park.

The prison is along the race route, which can change each year and requires athletes to frequently run through trailless terrain.

The rules for entering the race are mysterious. Barkley does not advertise. It asks applicants to submit an essay explaining why they want to compete, plus an application fee of US$1.60 (R$8).

“There’s no website, and I don’t post the race date or explain how to register,” Cantrell said in a 2013 interview with The New York Times.

“Anything that makes it more mentally stressful for runners is good,” he added.

Nothing about the marathon, which also involves the equivalent of 18,000 meters of ascent and descent, about twice the elevation of Mount Everest, is simple.

The night before the event, runners should be alert for the sound of a conch shell that signals the hour until the start of the race. When they get into position, Cantrell signals the start of the race by lighting a ceremonial cigarette.

As the race progresses, runners must find books scattered around the course and remove a page that matches their assigned number, to prove their progress.

They hand the page from each book to Cantrell as they complete each lap. There are no path markers, and runners have to memorize the route before starting.

“If there’s one thing I learned from Barkley,” Paris said, “it’s that you never know what you’re capable of until you try.”


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