Jasmin Paris becomes first woman to finish the Barkley Marathon

Posted by Stuart Morrison on

Jasmin Paris, 40 year old vet and ultra-runner, has become the first woman to finish the Barkley Marathons. With only 99 seconds to spare, until the 60 hour cut-off, she completed the 100 mile route, becoming an ultra-running legend.

The Barkley Marathons, in Tennessee, USA, is one of the toughest ultra-running events in the USA, if not the world. As well as the 100 mile distance, participants have to climb the equivalent of 16,500m. And then there are the bushes, with thorns and branches constantly getting in the way, ripping at your skin. It's no wonder that Netflix labelled it as "The Race That Eats Its Young".

Until Friday 22 March 2024, not many people had heard of Jasmin Paris. Winning the Spine Race, along the Penine Way, in record time, and only 14 months after giving birth, brought her to light in ultra-running circles. The fact that she was also stopping to express milk while competing was similarly impressive, and not missed by the media and running community. However, she was not well known outside those circles. This has probably changed.

Finishing the Barkley Marathons put Paris in a very exclusive 'club'. Since in was extended from 55 to 100 miles in 1989, only 20 participants to have completed the event.

Asked by the BBC how she felt as she crossed the finish line, she said she felt "overwhelming relief" that it was finally over. She added that completing such a challenge was "mind-opening" and inspires you with confidence for your whole life.

Jasmin explained her reasons for running such a difficult race, saying "I did it for me and I'm super happy that I achieved what I set out to do after the three years of trying".

She added "But I'm glad that I kind of did it for women worldwide as well - not just runners - but any woman that wants to take on a challenge and maybe doesn't have the confidence."

"The idea that I might have inspired them to believe in themselves… that's huge, especially all the young girls - you know how hard it is to keep young girls in sports."

The 40 year old vet is now looking forward to some family time. However, she isn't planning on resting for too long. Her next challenge is the Scottish Islands Peaks Race on 17 May, with a trip to Italy in September for the Tor des Géants.