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Triathlete John Kelly wins Barkley Marathons as 15th person to ever finish the gruelling race

Kelly crossed the finish line in 59:30, half an hour ahead of the 60-hour time cut-off.

Photo courtesy of Canadian Running Magazine
Photo courtesy of Canadian Running Magazine

The 2017 Barkley Marathons, widely regarded as the most gruelling endurance event on the planet, wrapped up today and triathlete John Kelly of Washington, D.C. was the sole finisher in a time of 59:30. Kelly crossed the finish line with half an hour to spare under the 60-hour time cut-off as only the 15th person in history to every finish the five-loop, 160-km endurance running event.

Kelly ran with notable Canadian trail runner Gary Robbins for the majority of the race, while Robbins (in his second attempt at the race) was trying to become the first Canadian to finish the event. Hundreds have started but not finished the event, which takes place on mostly unmarked trails in back-country Tennessee and includes 20,000 m of elevation. Robbins missed the 60-hour time cut-off by six seconds earlier today. The race starts and finishes in Frozen Head State Park.

Kelly finished second at the 2016 Ironman Maryland last year and competes in the 30 to 34 age-group.

You can read more about the Barkley Marathons on runningmagazine.ca and read the developing story about Robbins’ finish as well as check out all of Canadian Running‘s extensive live coverage.