A day before Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, USATF held the Trials for the U.S. Olympic marathon team, with 105 male qualifiers looking to book their trips to Rio. At the end of the day—closer to the end than the beginning, but that’s cool—was Chris Barnicle, solidly in 105th place.
Barnicle finished in 3:45:34, an objectively fantastic time for a casual runner, but a historically slow time for anyone good enough to even qualify for the Trials. According to FloTrack, it was slower than any other qualifier, man or woman, has run since at least 2000.
Barnicle did not expect to win the damn thing—he’s been out of competitive running for a couple of years after dealing with chronic injury, and it was his half-marathon time of 1:04:29 in 2013 that qualified him for Saturday’s Trials. He told Runner’s World he didn’t even have any intentions of running this thing until he learned the Trials would be held in L.A., where he lives.
“It was around Christmas time this year, and I thought: I got the trials qualifier, I live in L.A., so I just got to sign up and renew my USATF membership and do it—it’ll be so much fun.”
Of course, there was that little obstacle called “lack of fitness.”
Barnicle didn’t really prepare for this race, neglecting to specify what he wanted waiting for him at the course’s fluid stations (though he knocked down the rumor that he had asked for PBR), and cramping up and falling around Mile 22.
But rest assured: dude was high.
Chris Barnicle is known as, and proudly accepts the title of, the “World’s Fastest Stoner.” He got high throughout his running career (he tells FloTrack a story of how he successfully beat a drug test on 36 hours notice when he ran at the University of Arkansas), and when he stopped running competitively, he went into wholesale medical marijuana distributing.
Here’s Barnicle in a 2014 interview talking about the venture:
And yes, he gets high before he runs. “When I don’t have THC in my brain,” he said, “I can get very anxious, and very worried. I’ve been in really big races before, and I would just panic, and that would [lead] me to do something really stupid.”
He assuredly partook on Saturday, even if he won’t out and say it.
Did you eat any edible marijuana the morning of the Trials?
I worked really hard to make it to the finish line and to get my name in the results. I would hate for USATF to be able to change that to a DQ.
Barnicle says he has no regrets about his run, that competing in an Olympic Trials event is something he always wanted to do—if only to one-up his braggart grandma.
“Everyone always told me growing up that she qualified for the Olympic trials in the long jump in 1930-something,” Barnicle said. But when he checked her scrap books and internet records of that era, he couldn’t find her name. “So I thought, I want someone from my family to say they’ve been in the Olympic trials. So here I am.”
Not bad. I don’t want to say I’d like to run with Barnicle, because I’d never come close to keeping up (he won San Francisco’s “weed run” last year, and the grand prize of $500 worth of pot). But of everyone who competed for an Olympic spot, I feel safe in saying there’s no one else I’d rather hang out with.