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Reigning champ Aurélien Sanchez OUT of Barkley Marathons

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Aurélien Sanchez, last year’s winner – and only the 16th finisher in the history of the Barkley Marathons – has been tapped out of this week’s race early on the third loop.

The Frenchman defied the odds and rulebook to win on his debut at Frozen Head State Park in 2023.

And back for more he looked in with a decent chance of a repeat finish in the early stages.

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Repeat bid ends before halfway

On Wednesday he clocked 8:45:48 for the first of five potential loops, compared to an almost-identical 8:45:53 12 months previously.

The time after the second loop was quicker by a much wider margin – 20:26:20 versus 21:13:06.

But he spent nearly an hour and a half in camp before beginning loop three and it wasn’t long before Keith Dunn brought the unwelcome news that he’d “dropped on loop three and was tapped out”.

Aurelien Sanchez Barkley Marathons winner 2023 [Photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram]
Aurélien Sanchez was the first home of three finishers in 2023 [Photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram]

Dunn, who provides the only official updates for the maverick event, added that Aurélien had said: “I don’t know how I did that last year.”

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History-seeking Jasmin leads the way

Sanchez had been in 10th place at the time in a race which is now led by a front group of four comprising Jasmin Paris, aiming to be the first woman to finish the race, Damian HallJohn Kelly and Ihor Verys.

Four other runners – Sébastien Raichon, Greig HamiltonJared Campbell and Maxime Gauduin – also clocked under 20 hours for the first two loops, quicker than anyone managed last year when we saw the first three finishers since 2017.

You can keep right up to date with how the rest of the race plays out with our live updates page.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

THE SBRX Show

In episode 1 of our new SBRX Show we sit down with ultra runners and coaches Kim and Jayson Cavill to get their take on the Barkley Marathons and triathlon & trail running gear reviews, training tips and more

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