March 11, 2022

‘Fun Run doesn’t seem like the right word’ – Jasmin Paris achieves Barkley Marathons accolade

Vet and mother of two becomes first woman since 2013 to complete three loops of the legendary challenge
By Stuart Dick
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Success at the Barkley Marathons must certainly be charted on a sliding scale, and inov-8 ambassador Jasmin Paris can certainly hold her head high after becoming the first woman since 2013 to complete the three-loop ‘Fun Run’ in the allotted 40 hours.

The Spine Race record holder took on ‘Laz Lake’s’ fiendish challenge, which began on Tuesday, and certainly delivered a memorable performance, emulating Bev Anderson-Abbs who was the last female to accomplish the feat in both 2012 and 2013.

None of the 40 runners invited to compete were able to complete the race, meaning it is the fourth successive running without a finisher – with Paris, Karel Sabbe, Greig Hamilton, John Kelly and Thomas Dunkerbeck completing the ‘Fun Run’.

How she did it

Jasmin, a vet and a mother of two, appeared on course after the first loop, achieving a time of 9:24:19 – inside her 9:30:30 target. But she faced the daunting second loop in the dark as the weather – a combination of freezing rain, fog and low temperatures on the high points of the course – slowed the runners.

The British ultra-runner returned from the second loop at 23:38:31 on the race clock meaning a quick turnaround was required to set off onto loop three before the 24:00:00 cut off – a feat she managed with just over eight minutes to spare.

Very much behind the eight-ball in terms of finishing the race, Paris ventured off on loop three knowing a ‘Fun Run’ accolade was still within her grasp. She completed her third circuit in a time of 39:49:56, just over ten minutes inside the required time.

Largely ‘Type 2 Fun’

Speaking to the inov-8 website after completing the ‘Fun Run’ Jasmin said:

“A good few hours of the first loop were genuinely enjoyable with the sun shining and a lovely Barkleys veteran for company. The rest was largely Type 2 Fun!

“I made some significant navigational errors, so much so it felt like I ran the full 100 miles given all the detours I took!

“The torrential rain and fog, plus the dark, made loop two really difficult. I also got very cold, and it was difficult working out the route given the conditions. I was pleased join up with Thomas (Dunkerbeck) in the thick forest about halfway round loop two. He was pleased to see me too! It’s an intimidating place to be on your own, especially in such conditions, so we worked together to finish loop 2

.“After doing the first two loops in the same direction, I had to go the other way round on loop three. I was on my own and made some more significant navigation errors.

“I realised I wasn’t going to make it back in time to start a fourth loop so I focused on trying to get a Fun Run. I was really pleased to be able to achieve this. My goal was to give it absolutely everything I had, and I feel I did that, so I’m happy.”

Joining illustrious company

Jasmin’s ‘Fun Run’ achievement puts her in prestigious company. Bev Anderson-Abbs was the last women to achieve the feat in 2013 (39:09:48) – having also done so on her debut in 2012 (34:29:00).

Other women who have completed the feat are Suzi Thibeault (1991, 1994), Nancy Hamilton (1991, 1993), Sue Johnston (2000, 2001) – all of whom have completed the ‘Fun Run’ twice – as well as P.J. Salmonson (1994) and Eliza McClean (2000).

The 2022 Barkley Marathons on RUN247: