John Kelly becomes the 15th finisher at the Barkley Marathons!
BY ENDURANCE NEWS STAFF
On April 1st, 2017, HammerNutrition sponsored athlete JohnKelly left the start line on his thirdattempt at the 100 plus mile, 60hour ultramarathon trail race, theBarkley Marathons. On April 3rd,at 59:30 in with just 30 minutes tospare, Kelly became the race's 15thFinisher since 1986.
The Barkley Marathons takesplace in Frozen Head State Park,Tennessee. The application processis elusive, only a select few areaccepted. Full route disclosure isprovided upon arrival and exactstart time is announced just onehour prior. Currently, the raceconsists of a 20-mile unmarked loop.Participants will run this loop fivetimes, will experience 67,000 feetof accumulated vertical climb, andthey must finish within 60 hours.
Barkleyparticipantsshare anobsessivecuriosity,and a love foradventure.They hammerthroughobstacleswith extremedetermination,and have anincessant desire to push personallimits.
One of Kelly's motivations to finishthe Barkley Marathons was that itfelt like a coming home for him.He grew up a few miles away. In aninterview with the Ginger Runner,John reflected on traversing thesame mountains and sharp briarpatches as a child.
Following the first two Barkley runsKelly left saying I can do better, Ican go a little bit longer, I can go alittle bit faster. He promptlyre-calibrated his nutrition andfueling strategies, including a betterpreparing for sleep deprivationand staying mentally alert. Fromhis blog post titled 2017 BarkleyStrategy, Gear, & Nutrition, Kellyshares how Hammer Nutritionhelped him reach his goal:
After quite a bit of experimenting,I've found that Hammer Nutritionworks best for me during races interms of keeping my energy levelssteady and preventing gastricdistress.
John and his wife, Jessi welcomedtwins into the world duringtraining, making them a family offour. Being a devoted father anddedicated athlete, he implementedan in-home treadmill set to a 20%incline into his routine, along withweekend and commuting runs,biking, and swimming. Managingdaily life and training for anultramarathon requires consistentnutrition and more importantly,recovery.
During the race, athletes had towork through disorienting fog forloop one, 80 degrees with humidityduring loop four, and snow and hailreported during loop five. John'smemorable arrival at the finishinggate, wearing a found knit hat andplastic grocery bag says it all.
Kelly's story is proof that physicalstrength alone is not enough. Ahealthy fueling and nutritionstrategy for increasing physicalstrength, assuring proper recovery,and improving mental alertness isessential. To future participantsKelly suggests doing somethingthat you know you're going to fail atand see how you react, see how youtry to overcome that and be able tobuild that mental strength to fightthrough the mistakes that are goingto happen. No one is going to have amistake-free Barkley.
Hammer Nutrition is excited tocontinue supporting John Kelly ashe hammers on in the future.View PDF