“I have been working with Ridgeline Outhouse for a while and now seems like the right time to make this transition,” said Cantrell to the assembled group of Alan Abbs, Keith Dunn, and Ethan Newberry. “It’s time for me to spend more time with my family and my JV basketball team.”
Robbins and Coury were not immediately available for comment but reactions from other members of the Barkley family were swift. Hardrock Board President and one of the first-ever Barkley finishers Blake Wood commented, “I think this is a great move for the event and the sport. All of us close to Gary over the past few years have seen that his interest and enthusiasm for the event have waned. Handing it over to the next generation shows the wisdom of his ways. He’s clearly going out on top.”
Another original Barkley finisher, David Horton, was not as generous with his commentary, “I think this is the death knell for the event. Putting the Barkley in the hands of a couple tech-savvy Johnny-come-lately’s like Jamil and Gary just makes no sense. I think Laz made a mistake in not selecting a more experienced race director.” [Author’s Note: Horton’s LLC ExtremeRunningAndHiking submitted a bid for the event and was rejected.]
Contacted while hiking on the Appalachian Trail west of Lynchburg, Virginia, two other veteran Barkley finishers and long-trail specialists Andrew Thompson and Jonathan Basham struck more philosophical tones. “I have long believed that the event needs occasional revision-ing so as not to grow stale,” said Thompson. Basham added, “As with the passage of time, there is a time for every season and this is the season of youth in ultrarunning. I applaud Gary for gracefully getting out of the way.” Thompson and Basham also confirmed that they have already been hired by Ridgeline Outhouse to host the post-race pig roast and beer festival at Frozen Head State Park following the 2018 race.
Finally, iRunFar successfully contacted Jared Campbell, the only three-time finisher of the Barkley, at his home in Utah. “I’ve known Gary for a long, long time and what you see is not always what you get. While I know a lot of consideration went into this sale, I have to believe that the old dog has something else up his sleeve.”
Well, Jared, looks like you and the rest of Barkley nation will just have to wait and see as for now Laz is presiding over his final Barkley.
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