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Jasmin Paris Becomes first Woman to finish Barkley Marathons Race

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Jasmin Paris Becomes first Woman to finish Barkley Marathons Race

(CTN News) – A British runner made history by being the first woman to complete one of the world’s most difficult ultramarathons.

Jasmin Paris of Midlothian finished the Barkley Marathons in Tennessee with just one minute and 39 seconds to spare before the 60-hour cutoff.

Thousands of admirers watched the race on social media as she finished in a nail-biter on Friday.

She was fatigued when she finished the race, inspired by a legendary prison escape.

The Inspirational Journey of Jasmin Paris

The path in Frozen Head State Park changes every year, but it covers 100 miles with 60,000 feet of rise and descent – roughly twice the height of Mount Everest.

Since the race was extended to 100 miles in 1989, just 20 persons completed it in 60 hours.

The 40-year-old veteran had to run over difficult and frequently pathless terrain at night.

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Her legs are scratched due to pushing through sharp shrubs and scrub in the woodland on high slopes.

She has previously stated that the Barkley Marathons are a unique task, and the thought of running them has grown on her over the last few years.

“I’m feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation. I know it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, but that is exactly what motivates me to run.”

David Miller, a professional photographer at the race, described it as the “greatest ultramarathon achievement of all time” to BBC Scotland.

“There was a lot of excitement at the finish line, and three minutes before the 60-hour cutoff, we heard shouts and a roar, which was people cheering Jasmin Paris on.

“She was running and giving everything she had since there was no space for error; otherwise, she would not have cut.

“She touched the gate and dropped from tiredness. It was the best thing I had ever seen; it was incredible.

“Obviously I was very focused on trying to capture Jasmin Paris and a moment in history but at the same time I could feel a tear behind the lens because it was such an emotional moment.”

The marathon is noted not only for its physical challenges but also for its unusual traditions.

The course changes yearly, generally five 20-mile circles, with only 35 participants allowed each year.

Karl Henn and Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell created the Barkley course.

When they learned of James Earl Ray, the killer of Martin Luther King Jr., escaping from neighboring Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in 1977, they decided to organize the race.

Ray traveled just around 12 miles (19 kilometers) after sprinting for over 50 hours in the woods, sheltering from air searches throughout the day.

Mr Cantrell is claimed to have criticized Ray’s mileage, stating, “I could do at least 100 miles.”

Prospective runners must submit an essay titled “Why I Should Be Allowed to Run in the Barkley” along with a $1.60 (£1.27) entrance fee and, if successful, a letter of sympathy.

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Racers must also carry an additional “fee,” including items such as a white shirt, socks, or a car registration plate, as a donation for not finishing.

Competitors must find nine to fourteen books throughout the course (the precise number fluctuates each year) before removing the page with their race number from each book as proof of completion.

At the end of each lap, they deliver them to Mr. Cantrell, the race’s inventor and director, also known as “Laz”.

He waits outside the yellow gate, famous in the 2014 documentary Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young.

The race can begin between midnight and noon on race day, with one hour until the start announced by blowing a conch. The race officially starts when the race director lights a cigarette.

Barkley Marathons: A Blend of Challenge and Tradition

The course is unmarked; thus, participants must memorize the route beforehand.

The first and third loops go clockwise, while the second and fourth loops run counterclockwise. The first finisher of the fourth loop gets to choose which direction to go on the final loop.

Jasmin Paris, born in Hadfield, Derbyshire, had previously completed what is known as a “Fun Run” on her debut in 2022, making it through three circuits.

Despite its designation, the event remains 60 kilometers long. In 2006, no one completed it in less than 40 hours.

Last year, Jasmin Paris became the first female since 2001 to complete a fourth lap.

The previous greatest women’s achievement was Sue Johnston’s 66-mile (106-kilometer) run in 2001 when more than 30 participants failed to reach the first book.

In January 2019, Jasmin Paris, a mother of two, broke the course record by over 12 hours while expressing milk for her infant during a 268-mile race along the Pennine Way.

She finished the Montane Spine Race from Derbyshire to the Scottish Borders in 83 hours, 12 minutes, and 23 seconds.

Her former sponsor, Inov8, described her achievement as “one of the greatest stories” in the sport. She has since co-founded the Green Runners.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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