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RUN247 / Running News / Trail Running News / Damian Hall on Barkley Marathons near-miss: “I’m frustrated I made that one big mistake.”

Damian Hall on Barkley Marathons near-miss: “I’m frustrated I made that one big mistake.”

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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With the understandable focus on the record-breaking five who finished this year’s Barkley Marathons, Damian Hall‘s near-miss at Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee is in danger of being forgotten.

But it was still another superb performance by last year’s Montane Winter Spine Race winner who, as he had on his debut 12 months earlier, made it to the start of the fifth and final loop.

Unfortunately history again repeated itself as he was one of two who didn’t manage to finish, despite being the third of the seven to set out.

The five to make it all the way were Ivor Verys, John Kelly, Jared Campbell, Greig Hamilton and Jasmin Paris, the first woman to do so.

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‘It had been going pretty well until then’

Hall himself though is still in an incredibly select group thanks to his exploits at the Barkley. In 2023 it was trying to find the first book which derailed Damian and speaking to INOV8, for whom he’s an ambassador, he explained what happened this time.

He said: “I was too slow to locate one of the books in the dark. I wasn’t lost, I knew roughly where I was, but I misjudged a compass bearing and couldn’t locate the book.

“I knew after I found it that I didn’t have enough time to find the remaining books. I’m frustrated I made that one big mistake. It had been going pretty well up until then.”

John Kelly Damian Hall Barkley Marathons 2023 loop two photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram
Damian Hall (right) has made it to loop five on both his Barkley appearances [Photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram]
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‘It was still an amazing experience’

It took fellow Brit Jasmin Paris, Damian’s great friend and fellow co-founder of ‘The Green Runners’, two near misses of her own before last week’s ground-breaking and headline-making finish. And it’s clear Hall still feels he has unfinished business at the infamous race as, even when his chance had gone, he had the foresight to put in some extra work with the future in mind.

He explained: “I decided to collect a few more pages after that, have a snooze, and recce some bits of the course to improve my knowledge of it, before returning to camp.”

Remember too Hall’s pledge of just one return flight this year, underlining the importance of the Barkley to him.

And, like so many, he was full of praise for what Paris achieved, adding: “It was still an amazing experience, and incredible to see Jasmin finish and make history. That wiped away most of my personal disappointment. It was the greatest sporting achievement I’ve seen in the flesh.”

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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