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Barkley Marathons heartbreak for Damian Hall: So near again

Jonathan Turner
News Director
Published on

There was heartbreak for British ultrarunner Damian Hall as he once again came agonisingly close to finishing the infamous Barkley Marathons.

He has a whole host of big race wins to his name – most notably the Winter Spine Race – as well as a list of FKTs (fastest known times).

But it’s become clear in the last 12 months or so how much the Barkley – a maverick but incredibly highly regarded brutal event – means to him.

Why it means so much

He’s a co-founder of ‘The Green Runners’ and has pledged to fly just one return trip a year.

Last year that was to his first Barkley appearance at Frozen Head State Park in rural Tennessee where he got to the start of the fifth and final loop before becoming understandably disorientated as the sleep deprivation and incredible physical and mental challenge took its toll.

Damian Hall in action at the 2023 Tor des Geants
Damian Hall in action at the 2023 Tor des Geants [Photo credit: Nicolò Matteucci / Zzam Agency]

Looking to go one better this year he again made it to the last of the five 20-mile loops in the required time and looked as comfortable as you can do for a test that features similar elevation to climbing Mount Everest twice from sea level.

Last lap agony

But something can’t have gone to plan on that final loop for – soon after revealing that Hall’s great friend and rival John Kelly had finished – Keith Dunn, the race’s official information provider, then posted this:

Either way it was a magnificent performance in what has been a record-breaking year for the race.

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.  

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