Who Is Jasmin Paris? Meet The First Woman To Finish The Barkley Marathons

With each loop, the unassuming mother of two quickly became the crowd favorite.

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Jasmin Paris, a 40-year-old mother of two from Great Britain, made history after becoming the first woman ever to complete all five loops of the Barkley Marathons within the stringent 60-hour time limit.

Paris completed the race in 59:58:21, joining the exclusive club of Barkley Marathon finishers with just over a minute and a half to spare.

Prior to her triumph at Frozen Head State Park, Paris wasn’t a household name in the ultrarunning world. You could see her in the grocery store and wouldn’t think twice that you were walking by one of the most talented ultrarunners in the world.

Quiet, unassuming, and modest, Paris was born in Hadfield, a small town nestled on the edge of the Dark Peak in England. She also spent parts of her childhood in the hills of Šumava National Park in Czechia since she’s also half Czech. 

Currently residing just south of Edinburgh with her husband Konrad and their two young children, Paris balances her ultrarunning pursuits with her profession as a small animal vet specializing in Internal Medicine at the University of Edinburgh’s teaching hospital.

Who Is Jasmin Paris? Meet The First Woman To Finish The Barkley Marathons 1
Photo Credit: Howie Stern

An Unexpected Beginning

Paris’ journey into the world of running began unexpectedly when a colleague suggested she try a local race while working as a new graduate in Glossop. Instantly drawn to the sport and its community, she joined Glossopdale Harriers, marking the beginning of a love affair with running that has spanned nearly 14 years.

In 2019, Paris made headlines by clinching an outright victory in the grueling 268-mile Montane Spine Race, shattering the course record by over 12 hours. 

What made this feat all the more remarkable was the fact that she had given birth to her first child just 14 months prior, even having to express breastmilk at checkpoints along the way. 

Who Is Jasmin Paris? Meet The First Woman To Finish The Barkley Marathons 2
Photo Credit: David Miller

This victory was just one of many in her illustrious yet under-the-radar career, which includes winning the World Extreme Skyrunning Series in 2016, securing second place overall at the Dragon’s Back in 2015, and setting records such as the female 24-hour Munro Record in 2021.

While Paris has had numerous triumphs on the racecourse, she has said in a previous interview with INOV8 that she finds her true joy in the raw beauty of the mountains and the camaraderie she shares with fellow athletes. 

One memorable adventure she shared was the Petite Trotte à Léon in 2019, a challenging yet exciting journey she took with her husband Konrad and friend Jim Mann.

“I just love running in the fells and mountains, so there are too many happy memories to answer this question. A recent adventure that I remember with a smile was running the Petite Trotte à Léon with Konrad and Jim Mann in 2019. It was hard but beautiful and wild, and the journey was shared with two very special people,” she said to INOV8.

Who Is Jasmin Paris? Meet The First Woman To Finish The Barkley Marathons 3
Photo Credit: Jacob Zocherman

Running For More Than Accolades

Looking ahead, Paris’ aspirations go beyond her mere victories. 

She says she aims to sustain her love for running and mountain exploration, cherishing these experiences alongside her loved ones. For her, races and challenges are secondary to the profound connection she feels with the outdoors and the shared moments with friends and family.

Paris attributes her success to her determination, competitiveness, and enduring stamina. Yet, she acknowledges her tendency towards stubbornness, particularly in dealing with injuries. 

“I think I am determined (one could also say stubborn!) and competitive, besides having reasonable stamina. Probably more importantly, though, is that I run for the love of it,” she told INOV8.

Through consistent strength training and learning from past experiences, she hopes to strike a balance between pushing her limits and respecting her body’s needs.

“Being stubborn has its downsides, particularly when it comes to being injured. I’ve tried to learn from past mistakes and back off training early when I feel a niggle, but it’s not easy! In the last year I’ve been doing strength classes consistently 2-3 times a week, which has probably helped my body cope with increasing training load as I’ve come back following the birth of my second child,” she said in an interview with INOV8.

Who Is Jasmin Paris? Meet The First Woman To Finish The Barkley Marathons 4
Photo Credit: David Miller

In a sport often focused on podium finishes, Paris says she finds inspiration in the resilience and determination of those at the back of the pack, particularly during multi-day races. To her, true heroism lies not solely in the outcome but in the relentless effort and spirit displayed by every participant.

Paris’ affinity lies with long, rough, wild, and low-key races (think Barkley Marathons here), where the challenge is as much about the terrain as it is about the personal journey it entails.

Just a few days ago, Jasmin Paris came into the Barkley Marathons as just another hopeful, and certainly not the poster girl of the event. However, with each loop, she was closer and closer to writing history, and soon became the fan-favorite of the Barkleys. 

With the world watching, Paris set a new standard at the Barkley Marathons and went from someone you might stroll by without thinking twice to an ultrarunning legend.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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