Category Archives: Races

Top 10 Activities to Pursue Whilst Waiting for Barkley Marathons Updates

Barkley Marathons Top Ten

Another year, another Barkleys Marathon. Last year I was lucky enough to crew for a Barkley runner.

Gate Guardian

Me babysitting the Yellow Gate while my runner ran around in the woods all night and day.

You know what? You get more intel sitting at home in front of the computer than in camp! Plus it’s far more comfortable! You can’t spend all your time on your phone as there is limited space to charge up a phone. Cell coverage is still poor there.

Lazarus Lakes Barkley Marathons

My latest Top Ten List Whilst Waiting for the elusive and cryptic Barkley Marathons Update

    1. Go for a run-there is time. Nobody is going to come back to camp within six hours at the earliest unless they have quit already. Go run a 5k, half-marathon, hey, even a 50K can be raced before you hear of updates from the front runners. Mike Wardian
    2.  Read an account of a very long first loop-32 hours. Spoiler alert: they timed out.
    3. Watch Inside the Documentary at Popcorn Talk, where producer Annika Illtis chats about the making of “The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young”.
    4. Since you have plenty of time, kindly peruse Christian Griffiths 2010 Barkley Race Report
    5. Read a book. Specifically, Cathy Henn’s “Danger Beyond the Yellow Gate”. Cathy is the wife of Raw Dog and the mother of Danger Dave. Cathy knows her Barkley! Danger Beyond the Yellow Gate
    6. Read some of my curated lists from over the years! Here is 2017 Barkley Interviews, My 2017 Top Ten, My Top Ten 2016 List,
    7. Watch “Where Dreams Go to Die”. It is-was available to download in March. Will Gary pull off five loops this year? Race Director Tools
    8. Check out  the map of FHSP and pretend to be a Barker! Look at those really close together contour lines! Frozen head state park map
    9. Read Frozen Ed Furtaw’s Book “Tales from Out There”. Your best Barkely reference tool.
    10. Listen to a long form interview with John Fegyversi on Ten Junk Miles-very good!

Is anyone back to camp yet?

Barkley Interviews and Reports

Post Barkley 2017 Interviews

Barkley Interviews and Reports

Just in case you did not get enough of #BM100 this year, the interviews and reports have begun trickling out of tired runners everywhere.

Audio and Video

Guillame Arthus Video of his Loop One

Jamil Coury Video of his 2017 Barkley

CBC Radio with Gary Robbins

Ultrarunner Podcast with John Kelly

Bob Babbitt chats with John Kelly

The Intelligent Racer Podcast with John Kelly

John Kelly on Sports Center!

Barkley Interview with John Kelly on Pacers Running

Talk Ultra chats  with Mike Wardian
Canadian Running Magazine talks with John Kelly on the Shake Out Podcast. The next two episodes of the Shakeout Podcast are with Gary Robbins.

East Coast Trail Runner Podcast with John Kelly

Amazing 8 minutes, all in French, but watch it!

Ginger Runner  Live with John Kelly

Citius Mag Podcast with Jamil Coury and Mike Wardian experiences

Southeastern Trail Runner Podcast talks with John Kelly

Bad Boy Running Podcast with John Kelly interview

The Printed Word

Race Report by Brandon Staponovich

Race Report  by Mikael Heerman

Print interview with John Kelly by Run Washington

A short note from Benoit  Laval

Kat’s Loop One

John Kelly’s own report on I Run Far

Crew Report from Joe Kelly!

Seth Wolpin’s Race Report

Arthus Guillame’s Report

Any others posted out there? Let me know, I would like to add to my list!


Top 10 Activities to Pursue While Waiting on Barkley Updates

Top 10 Activities to Pursue While Waiting on Barkley Updates

The Barkley Marathons

10. Go for a run. There won’t be much word of runners until they return to camp. The fastest runners, who successfully stay on course, could be back in seven to nine hours. Others will return much later, maybe within the twelve hour cutoff, but probably not.

The Barkers do a good job of not giving out much information in the first day of the race. There could be someone Tweeting or FBing who may give out a name.  Don’t get frustrated when a runner is identifed as “Female Runner back at camp”.  As the attrition rate grows, it will become rather apparent who is still out on the course.

9. Read the race report for the first finisher of the Barkley, Mark Williams.  If you are a Barkley historian fan, you will see how some things have changed over the years.

8. Read an interview with Jared Campbell, the only three time Barkley finisher.

7. Listen to an interview with Rhonda Avery, the first blind competitor to enter the Barkley.  Read her blind runner guide  report.

6. Read “The Immortal Horizon” penned by Leslie Jamison, from the 2012 Barkley. This is the essay that Annika and Tim, producers of the documentary read and became intrigued by this train wreck of a race.

5. Watch some cool video from Jamil Coury’s 2015 attempt.

4. Read Parts One and Two of Heather Anderson’s 2015 Attempt. Anish, record holder of the  PCT,  AT, and Arizone Trail  Unsupported Fastest Known Time (FKT).

3. Listen to Dirt Dawg interview John Fegyversi on his 2012 Barkley finish,

2.  Watch The Barkley Marathons Documentary: The Race That Eats Its Young

1. BUY Frozen Ed Furtaw’s book “Tales From Out There” The History of the Barkley Marathons.

Is anyone back to camp yet?








Frozen Head Bound

I am going to Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee! I’m psyched!

Frozen Head Bound Weekend


Why on earth am I going to visit a state park in Tennessee the first weekend of April? Is this a joke? Nope, it’s the Barkley Marathons.

Barkley Marathons The Race That Eats It Young

Barkley Movie

If you read my blog at all, you will have an inkling what the Barkley is. If not, go here or here. From my blog in 2011 “He’s been at the Barkley, completed two laps..he’s a Barkley runner some murmured trail talk, looking at the unassuming skinny runner ahead. Newby ultra runners are in awe. Then someone asks the question, “what is the Barkley?”

The Barkley is April Fool’s Weekend 2017.

My History with the Barkley

Hold on to your Manhood Bib Barkley

From my blog in 2012..”I am such a Barkley geek.

I’ve been fascinated by this race since I became an ultra runner.  When I had my podcast, in 2007, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laz and then Flying Brian Robinson after his course record….”


Weekend Off

Bad Things Barkley Biblt ended up being my four day weekend off work. I had several options on fun things to do. There is a Wilderness First Aid Course at Spruce Knob, West Virginia. I could learn something, hike the great trails.

Excuses To Go

Barkley BibBut I also wanted to attend the Barkley in person, at least once! See the famous yellow gate, go for a hike or two, maybe catch a glimpse of a runner at the Fire Tower.  I know folks that are part of the race, but I didn’t have a compelling reason, other than just hanging out.


Bad Things Barkley Bib

I sent a few emails, seeing if any friends were in the race this year. Note: the list of runners is not made public. Runners may “out” themselves, such as Gary Robbins, Mike Wardian, Jamil Coury have declared.  Other runners keep it on the down low.

A friend of mine is in the race, and I am crewing for my friend! I don’t have permission at this time to say whether my friend is “Out” or not, so no names at this time.

Crewing Responsibilities

This might be the easiest crew job ever. I will only see my runner once a loop, when they return to camp. I will have soup, wraps, coffee, soda, ready to serve, first aid kit available. The idea is to do a quick turn around and get them back Out There. Then my day will be mine to hang out at the campground or go for a hike.

Are you going to follow the Barkley this weekend? Check #BM100 for any updates!

Women Wednesday Records Fall

Records Fall

TWO of Ann Trason records were broken this past weekend.

Ann Trason

Ann Trason is the best female ultra runner. She won Western States 14 times, Comrades marathon twice, Leadville 100 four times, 100K World Championship twice; and set 20 world records. Check out her results on Ultrasignup: all you are going to see are first (and a few second) place finishes. No runner will even get close to the amount of wins that Trason holds.

Gina Slaby

Gina Slaby breaks Ann Trason’s world record for 100 miles-13:45:49 at the Desert Solstice.

Slaby is from New York and never ran in high school or college.  She took the sport us prior to enlisting in the Navy to handle the training standards.

Slaby ran in the Olympic Trials in both 2012 and 2016.  From her Ultrasignupprofile, every ultra she has entered-she has won.  Some of her 100 mile race wins  were Vermont 100 in July 2016, Lumberjack 100, Capital Reef Ultras, HURT 100. That shows quite a contrast, from rooty technical HURT to the more gentle surfaces of Vermont and now the track Desert Solstice.

Caroline Boller

Caroline Boller smashes American 50 mile trail record in 5:48:01 at Brazos Bend 50, the previous record was  6:14 by Ann Trason. She also won the race outright (meaning she beat the men and the women) AND set the course record at Brazos Bend.

This was just a short time interval from her new Masters Course Record, 6.32.36 at the JFK 50 Mile in November.  Which was just seven days out from her performance at the IAU 50K R oad World Championships , Doha, Qatar, where she finished 16th. It’s been two fast months for her!

Boller has had a very busy productive year,  2016 Olympic Trials, finished 12th at Western States, 1st place at the Mokelumne River 50K, Annadel Half Marathon, Caumsett 50K USATF National Road Championships.  She set course records at Mokelumne, and Masters American Record at Caumsett.

Boller (per her website)  did not take up running regularly until she was 38!  Boller writes great race recaps, I can’t wait to hear her Brazos Bend Record Breaker Report.

This was a great weekend of racing for the women!

#girlpower #worldrecord #ultrarunning #ultrachat

Amish Country Half Marathon Report 2016


Amish Country Half Marathon Report

I conquered the hills! Again! This was my fourth year running the Amish Country Half Marathon in Berlin (pronounced BURR lin) Ohio.  This is a nicely organized half marathon held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

I was quite unsure whether to attempt to run this.  But I finally figured if I was going to have any chance of finishing Tarawera 60K in February, I need to get a base of some endurance miles under my belt. I checked the finishing times and saw a few people finished around four hours. Okay, I could walk the whole 1/2 marathon if needed and still finish, as long as the knee co-operated.

This is a tough little half marathon. The hills are no joke. Amish half marathon course profile

My running revolves around my knee these days, whether I like it or not. The first mile, which is downhill, was completed very gingerly.  It did not feel good.  It wasn’t until I started climbing uphill (which doesn’t bother the knee) and topped out that I felt happy.

I decided that would be the barometer of my run, whether I was happy in each mile.  I was doing well. I would power walk up the hills, and then rather slowly amble down.  (I used to love bombing downhill. Oh well.)

Iris and I began chatting about mile six. She was from Virginia, visiting relatives in my town! go figure.  She and I stuck together for most of the race.  That helped me get through the somewhat tiring flat sections on the course.  I warned her that there were hills toward the end.

Best Water Station Ever

Around mile 12, there was a home made water station manned by three Amish children. On a little table, there were styrofoam  cups.  There was a piece of tiny paper taped to each cup. I picked one up. It said “good luck”.  I had to drink that glass of water!! I’m glad I stopped there!

I climb the almost-last hill, turn onto State Route 39, and head toward the finish line at the high school. My knee has gone pretty much numb. I’m tired since I didn’t train for this, but I’m moving well and then I head downhill.


Aaah! A cramp starts on my right hamstring. I stop and grab it.  I could tell it would like to go into full blown cramp and do the “relax, relax, it’s okay” and try and stand up straight. I’m less than a half mile from the finish line!! Iris and the 3 hour pacer catch up as I start to walk briskly and tell them no, it’s not a knee blow up just a pesky cramp reminding me that I’m not ultra human these days.


Another small twinge hits right before the track finish and I slow down a bit, the three hour pacer is still behind me, and I would like to finish under three. I thought if I “could run it” I could finish in around three.  Iris and I head for the hot buttered noodles! Yes there was the finisher medal AND CHEESE BLOCK!


pre race Amish half marathon

Finish Time

I finished in 2.58.21.  I would have been happy with “a finish”.  This race was a very good idea.  I ran much more than I would have, if I was just in a training run around the block.  The knee held up, and while I was tired, it wasn’t as bad as I thought I would be. Next up, get a 20 mile run in.
Amish finishThis is a well organized half marathon with real hills! My only constructive criticism (that I will email to RD) is they need a cardboard box/garbage can at the water stops for cups. Yes, it’s a small half marathon, but someone is out there picking up the cups.  If there is a receptacle for cups I would use it! (Note: after I drank the awesome water at mile 12, I put my used cup under one of the other cups.)

amish country medal

Did you run a race this weekend? Did it exceed your expectations? Did you get a block of cheese and an Amish hat and beard?

Barkcamp Trail 1/2 Marathon Report



This was the Barkcamp  Twelth Year of Races but it was the first time I ventured over for the Barkcamp Trail Marathon.  I wasn’t sure increasing my mileage by 50% was the best idea. (The general consensus is you increase your mileage by 10% a week.)

Barkcamp State Park is a little state park right of I-70 in Belmont County, outside the town of Bethesda.  It is very easy to find, I parked my vehicle about ten minutes of exiting the highway.

The weather had been great this week until the last three days before the race, where it rained daily. I’ve always heard Barkcamp Race was a mudfest, so I was resigned to muddy trails.  I’ve ran one time previous at Barkcamp and was looking forward to learning new trails.  I was  worried about 26 miles on my knee.

The 1/2 and full marathon start together. It’s a 13.1 mile loop; the marathoners merely repeat the loop again.  It’s a small race, and the runners spread out quickly.

Barkcamp Trail Race

It’s so nice to be on new trails. I was concerned about cut offs for the marathon.  I was treating this like an ultra, and knew I would be running/jogging/hiking at my ultra pace.

Barkcamp Trail Race

The knee wasn’t feeling the love from the start. I resolved to walk. Quickly. In my last few double digit run/walks, the knee started to feel less bad after five or six miles.

Barkcamp Trail RaceThe knee wasn’t feeling much better. When I would hit the very few sections of asphalt and I would jog, I could tell I was limping.

Barkcamp Trail Race

The Marathon becomes the 1/2 Marathon
Barkcamp Trail RaceAbout mile six I decided I was going to drop at the 1/2 marathon distance. Although my knee didn’t feel *that bad* I knew it didn’t need to go through another 13 miles.

Barkcamp Trail Race

This really didn’t bother me. I am getting a little sick of everything revolving around “MY KNEE” but it is what it is. I consoled myself by digging out my Zune and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.

Barkcamp Trail RaceAround mile eleven I reflected on “This was a HARD half-marathon” ! It runs like an ultra or a 25K.  LOTS of lots of little ups and downs.  A few very GOOD big climbs. The trails were lovely. Lots of runnable sections, nice singletrack, and no road.

Barkcamp Trail RaceThe Mizfits over at Barkcamp did a superb job. They’ve been steadily growing their races over the years and are extremely helpful/inviting to back of the pack runners.  There was a great spread of food at the finish line-chicken, potatoes, a stellar salad, bread, cookies!

Co Directors Barkcamp Races

The course was marked *over-marked*. Rod even had tape across other trails so you really had no excuse for going off course. In addition, in several spots, there were course marshalls to make sure you made the correct turn.  THANK YOU to the many volunteers that came out so we could play in the woods!