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Jasmin Paris on Barkley Marathons finale: “I thought I’ll either pass out or I’ll finish”

Jonathan Turner
News Director
Updated on

Jasmin Paris‘ wonderful achievement of becoming the first woman to ever finish the infamous Barkley Marathons has made headlines around the world since she reached the finish line on Friday evening.

Many have labelled it as the greatest ultrarunning achievement of all time.

And adding to the magnitude and drama was the fact that it was so desperately close – she had just 99 seconds to spare before the 60-hour cut-off point, after a race which had featured as much elevation as climbing and descending Mount Everest twice.

‘Everything was screaming for oxygen’

It all meant a desperate sprint – if that’s even possible after 100 miles – for the line before slumping to the ground in sheer exhaustion.

And speaking afterwards to the Singletrack podcast, with her voice clearly showing the effects of what she’d been through, she explained what had been running through her mind in those closing stages.

She said: “I think I was just telling myself ‘if you don’t finish it now, you’ll have to do it again’.

“I was channelling all that effort… and I couldn’t believe I was still going.

“Everything was screaming for oxygen and I was just making it go harder and harder.

And then I guess I thought I’ll either pass out or I’ll finish.

“And then I got to the gate and it was really helpful and amazing having everyone cheer me in.”

‘Believe in yourself’

Asked if there was a message she would like to share, she added: “I guess I’d say thank you for following me and cheering me on.

“And whatever adventure you have, to believe in yourself and be willing to take some risks and give it a go.

“I had to come back three times – I believed that it was possible. It’s worth putting the effort in if it’s something you really want.”

Jasmin Paris climbing Barkley Marathons loop three 2023 photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram
Jasmin Paris at the Barkley Marathons [Photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram]

‘It hasn’t really sunk in’

And back home in Britain the feat has been very much picked up by the BBC. It was the most read story on their website on Saturday and featured on the main news that night along with a video of the finish and an explanation of just what the Barkley entails and why it’s so tough.

By now having lost her voice, Jasmin was unable to speak but told Sunday’s BBC Breakfast by text message that she was “overjoyed” to have finished the race.

She added: “It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’ve finally done it.

“This year I had a strong feeling in the months of training and run up to the race that I could do it.

“Those final moments have redefined for me what I am capable of.”

And it’s not just the BBC but countless other huge media outlets who have grasped the significance of Paris’ achievement, including the New York Times…

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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