North Vancouver man comes close to completing gruelling Barkley Marathon

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Facebook / Gary Robbins

A North Vancouver man came close to becoming the first Canadian to complete the gruelling Barkley Marathon, but sadly tapped out in the fifth loop. Jared Campbell was the only runner to complete this year’s marathon.

Gary Robbins made a gallant effort to complete the ultramarathon that has an extremely high dropout rate – in fact, nobody completed the course in 2015. The marathon is 160 kilometres long with 16,500 metres of accumulated vertical climb over a total of five loops. Each loop must be completed within 12 hours, meaning runners need to get the race done in 60 hours or less.

Only 14 runners out of 800 have completed the race in Tennessee within the allotted 60 hour cutoff since 1986.

Unsurprisingly, Barkley is considered one of the most challenging ultramarathons in the world.

According to an Instagram post by Ethan Newberry, Robbins had to drop out in his fifth loop due to sleep deprivation and a “costly navigational error.”

Over the last 60 hours, I got to witness insane feats of strength, determination, teamwork and suffering. I have never been more inspired, touched & terrified. Some images and stories will live with me for a very long time, but I can’t imagine the memories that those who took on The Barkley firsthand will take with them. Here, surrounded by an overwhelming frenzy of cameras, family and Barkley veterans, my dear friend, @garyrobbins, looks to the sole 2016 Barkley finisher, winner and first ever 3x finisher, Jared Campbell. After running the first 4 loops together, the two were forced to split & travel in opposite directions for the final loop per tradition (followed by the incredible John Kelly one hour later). Succumbing to nearly 100 hour sleep deprivation, a costly navigational error caused Gary to lose the crucial time needed to complete the fifth and final loop. Jared went on to finish with minutes to spare. An absolutely astounding show of physical endurance. Thank you, Barkley, for opening my eyes to what true suffering and strength can look like. Next time I fee like shit in an ultra, I’ll know it is NOTHING compared to what those who take this on go through. I am not even remotely worthy. Now I must sleep in this Walmart’s parking lot before our 6am flight. #bm100

A photo posted by Ethan Newberry (@ethannewberry) on

Still, Robbins wife couldn’t be prouder of her husband for completing 4.5 loops.

After being sleep deprived for 100 hours, Robbins started to hallucinate, according to a Twitter post by David Cobb.

Nonetheless, fans of Robbins are praising him on Twitter for his valiant efforts.

Check out this trailer for a Netflix documentary about the race:

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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