‘Last Women Standing’: Nicky Spinks Tackles the Infamous Barkleys

U.K. ultrarunner Nicky Spinks sets out in the crazy Barkley Marathons to prove that a woman can do it.

Race organizer Lazarus Lake’s letter reads like both an invitation and a warning: “It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that you’ve been selected to run in the 2019 Barkley Marathons.” The Barkley Marathons is the world’s toughest and weirdest ultradistance race — if you can even call it that.

It consists of five back-to-back marathon-ish distances on an unmarked course. There’s hill-climbing, scavenging for books in the forest, and other weird challenges along the way. Since 1986, only 15 runners have completed the full 100-plus-mile endeavor.

“The Barkleys is a relentless race of ups, downs, and where-the-hells,” said Spinks.

Over the years, there have been few female runners but no female finishers. In this short film produced by inov-8, 52-year-old breast cancer survivor and decorated ultrarunner Nicky Spinks runs to challenge that record.

205 Miles in One Run: Courtney Dauwalter Is an Ultra Addict
205 Miles in One Run: Courtney Dauwalter Is an Ultra Addict

It takes a special kind of someone to willingly run 205 miles along the steep Tahoe Rim Trail. And this video makes it clear that ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter is up for the challenge. Read more…

Mary Murphy
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Mary is based in Denver, Colorado, but frequently travels abroad. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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