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The First Female Runner Of The Challenging Barkley Marathons Is Jasmin Paris

Credit: Jacob Zocherman/BBC News

A British runner has created history by being the first female runner in one of the most difficult ultramarathons in the world. 

Midlothian resident Jasmin Paris finished the Barkley Marathons in Tennessee with only one minute and 39 seconds remaining before the 60-hour cutoff. Thousands of fans followed the race on social media, as she came in last on Friday in an exciting finale. 

When she finished the race, which was modelled after a well-known jail escape, she collapsed on the ground from sheer exhaustion. The race, which takes place at Frozen Head State Park, is unique each year and spans 100 miles with 60,000 feet of ascent and descent, or nearly twice the height of Mount Everest.

Less than 20 competitors have ever completed it in the 60 hours allowed since it expanded to 100 miles in 1989. The 40-year-old veteran had to sprint through the night while navigating through difficult and frequently uncharted territory. Images of her legs reveal scratches from pushing through prickly shrubs and undergrowth in steeply forested areas. 

She has previously stated, 'I've been thinking about running Barkley Marathons for the past several years since they're a really unique challenge.'  The race is well-known for its peculiar customs in addition to its physically demanding nature. 

The race consists of  roughly five laps of 20 miles, with only 35 people permitted to participate each year.  On race day, the race can begin at any moment between midnight and noon. An hour before the race begins, the race director will blow a conch. When the race director lights a cigarette, the competition officially starts. 

Competitors must commit the route to memory in advance, as the course is not marked.  In this race, the second and fourth loops are anticlockwise, whereas the first and third loops are clockwise. The first finisher of the fourth loop determines the direction of the last loop. 

The event is still 60 miles in length, despite its name. Nobody completed it in less than forty hours in 2006. Jasmin started her fourth loop last year, making history as the first female to do so since 2001. She got to the finish line after running for 59 hours, 58 minutes, and 21 seconds. 

Edited by: Sri Soudamini Konka

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