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Jasmin Paris, ultrarunning sensation and Barkley Marathons history maker, awarded MBE

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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It’s been a quite incredible 2024 for ultrarunning sensation and Barkley Marathons history maker Jasmin Paris, and it continues to get even better.

On Friday evening (June 14, 2024) it was confirmed that the 40-year-old phenomenon, who was born in Manchester but now lives and works in Edinburgh, has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the King’s Birthday Honours List, a fitting reward for her quite spectacular athletic exploits.

The award, which is traditionally given to “people who have worked hard for their community over a long time and made a big difference”, is the latest and perhaps greatest accolade for an athlete who has truly taken ultrarunning mainstream in 2024.

In years gone by Jasmin had already performed sensational feats of endurance – setting records for the Bob Graham and Ramsay Rounds, winning the Dragon’s Back Race and finishing third in the Skyrunning World Championship. 

Jasmin’s 2019 Spine Race victory meanwhile saw her set a new outright course record for the 268-mile Pennine Way route and Paris, who expressed milk for her daughter at some of the checkpoints, took more than 12 hours off the previous fastest time in the process.

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Barkley Marathons history

It was in March 2024 though that Jasmin – who combines her ultrarunning exploits with motherhood and a career as an Edinburgh vet – really hit the global sports (and news) headlines in an enormous way.

She did so by becoming the first woman to ever finish the notorious Barkley Marathons – known as ‘the race that eats its young’ – in its near 40-year history.

The brutal five-loop 100-mile test features as much elevation as climbing Mount Everest twice – and until 2024 only 17 people, all men, had made it to the end within the allotted 60 hours.

History though was changed forever when Jasmin overcame everything the terrifying course in Tennessee could throw at her to reach the finish in 59:58:21. And with that, an explosion of praise and publicity engulfed this terrific athlete.

#smalleuropeanwoman – the moniker given to her by the cryptic social media coverage of the race – was now trending globally on Twitter/X and much further afield.

Taking ultrarunning mainstream

Mainstream media latched onto the amazing story, and Paris received deserved praise and accolades from around the world.

Jasmin is now widely known for her exploits, and the popularity of races like the Barkley Marathons continues to grow thanks to the achievements of athletes like her.

Friday night’s announcement was just the latest recognition of what Paris has achieved in moving the sport forward, and raising the levels of what can be achieved.

What they said about Jasmin Paris

Not surprisingly, Jasmin’s exploits in Tennessee in March brought an incredible response from the ultrarunning community and beyond. Here is just a little of that reaction:

Ultrarunning superstar Courtney Dauwalter: “Jasmin Paris being the first female to ever finish the Barkley was really, really cool. I was certainly glued to the Twitter feeds, refreshing it for those three days that she was out there.

“I’m so impressed by her – and thankful to her for just blowing the roof off the thing and showing us what’s possible.”

Ultrarunning great John Kelly: I wrote back in 2018 that a woman could finish Barkley. But being possible & actually happening are two entirely different things, and I didn’t know if I would ever see it.”

“My daughters were there watching. Thank you Jasmin, for showing them what I never fully could.”

Barkley Marathons founder Lazarus Lake: “If you have not been “out there” your mind cannot create an image of just how hard it is nor of the sheer horror that is that course.

“Whatever superlative you went to apply to her performance, it was better than that.”

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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