barkley marathons number
(Photo/Michael Hodge)

Barkley Wins Again: Nobody Finishes World’s Darkest Ultramarathon

Barkley Marathons results: Once again, Lazarus and his dastardly race defeated all comers despite a formidable field of running ringers.

Karel Sabbe and Greig Hamilton bowed out on their fourth loop of the 2022 Barkley Marathons, bringing to a close an especially grueling edition of the race. And as has happened so many times before, nobody finished.

Sabbe was reportedly making good time — knocking down three loops in just over 32 hours — before the wheels fell off. According to Canadian Running Magazine, around hour 40 of nonstop running and orienteering, Sabbe was found deliriously talking to a garbage can before the sheriff picked him up and returned him to camp.

Hamilton, a few hours behind, lost his chance after he timed out before completing loop four.

The race did offer up a silver lining, however. British runner Jasmin Paris became the first woman in 10 years to complete the race’s “fun run” distance — three full loops.

In its 35-year history, Barkley Marathons has seen only 15 successful finishers.

What Is Barkley Marathons?

The Barkley Marathons is ​​hosted annually in Frozen Head State Park, Tenn. “The Barkleys,” as it’s also called, is a series of five back-to-back marathons through a difficult maze of unmarked trails, with over 100,000 feet of elevation change and, of course, a time limit.

Runners must finish each loop in 12 hours to make the final 60-hour cutoff for the full course.

Not to be mistaken for an ultramarathon in the traditional sense, the Barkley Marathons features added “fun” like route-finding, hill-climbing, scavenging for books in the forest, and other weird challenges along the way.

2022 Barkley Marathons


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In keeping with the nature of the event, the Barkley Marathons doesn’t make the start list public before the event. And runners don’t know the exact start time for the race.

The 2022 event kicked off on March 8, 2022, at 6:54 a.m. EST with a field that was one of the toughest to date, at least according to the Barkley Marathons Twitter account.

Though most participants made the cutoff time for the first loop — a record of 30 runners — that prediction quickly took a Barkley-ian turn for the worse on the second loop.

During the night, the weather deteriorated into a cold rain. Runners added wet, cold conditions and muddy terrain to their list of challenges. When the second cutoff time hit, only five runners had made the cutoff, earning the honor of heading out on a third brutal loop.

marathon race founder Gary Cantrell with bushy and frazzled gray beard
Barkley Marathon Mastermind Lazarus Lake to Appear on HBO’s ‘Real Sports’
The fairly odd and elusive Lazarus Lake is gracing HBO to talk about how he created the 'notorious and treacherous' Barkley Marathons. Watch an exclusive interview with the race founder in a new episode of 'Real Sports.' Read more…

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.