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Can Jasmin Paris – the #smalleuropeanwoman – make history at the Barkley Marathons?

Jonathan Turner
News Director
Updated on
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Jasmin Paris is now going into unknown territory as she attempts to make history at the Barkley Marathons.

She’s now into the fifth and final loop, the first woman to get that far, and her focus is on trying to become the first female to finish the five 20-mile loops of the infamous race within 60 hours.

She already has a long list of incredible achievements to her name, most notably an overall victory at the Montane Winter Spine Race in 2019 in what was then a course record time.

That victory made news headlines in the UK and beyond as she finished well ahead of all her rivals – male and female – in the 268-mile slog up the Pennine Way, while also expressing breastmilk for her infant daughter.

In the ‘grip’ of the Barkley

The performance prompted none other than Laz Lake to suggest she could be the first woman to finish his ‘fiendish’ creation, billed as ‘The Race Which Eats Its Young’.

To do that would arguably top her Spine Race achievement – and her two previous attempts have offered plenty of encouragement.

Her debut in 2022 saw her become the first woman in a decade to register a ‘Fun Run’, which is three loops within 40 hours.

And in the days after that she said: “I understand now why Barkley becomes an obsession; in fact, I suspect I’m already firmly in its grip.”

Fast forward almost 12 months and she was back, not a decision taken lightly as one of the co-founders of ‘The Green Runners’ who has pledged to minimise air travel.

This time she went one better as she became the first woman since Sue Johnston in 2001 to start a fourth loop.

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

That was an achievement in itself but all the more so as she revealed afterwards that her autumn training had been dogged by fatigue and the flare-up of a chronic knee injury.

Damian Hall a key influence

That reduced her to just six weeks of solid training in the final build, all under the watchful eye of her coach and fellow Green Runners co-founder Damian Hall, who himself would make such as impact in his Barkley debut that year.

She only just made the 36-hour cut-off last year in order to be able to start the fourth loop and that meant she was running alone from that point onwards.

While she wasn’t able to get back to camp in time to start a fifth and final loop, the experience should stand her in good stead for this year’s finale when runners are alternately sent in opposite directions – she is heading clockwise.

Here at RUN247 we started a quick campaign on X to galvanise support for her from around the world with the #smalleuropeanwoman hashtag that gives a nod to Keith Dunn’s cryptic reporting of the event – and you can see the result below!

Jasmin wrote after last year’s race: “It was a great privilege and huge inspiration to witness Aurélien Sanchez, John Kelly and Karel Sabbe as they each finished the final loop of the Barkley Marathons and touched the yellow gate for the fifth time. I hope that one day I will do the same.”

Will today be the day? We’ll find out soon and you can follow along here.

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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