Barkley Marathons – Where dreams go to die
You are exhausted! Of course you are exhausted! You have been running for close to 10 hours in the freezing rain. 32 fu***ng kilometers without as much as a trail! A conch woke you up in the middle of the night to tell you to start running. Finally, you reach the yellow finishing gate signaling that you now ...have four more rounds to go.
This is the reality for the 40 persons that run one of the world’s most obscure races: the Barley Marathons. It’s an ultramarathon trail race held in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. The goal is to complete 5 “rounds,” covering closer to 160km in 60 hours. Sign me up for this madness, you say? Well, how you sign up is a secret, as well as the date it is held.
Despite the race being held yearly since 1986, only 15 runners have so far completed the race. No press is accepted at the race, so the only way to follow it “live” is by following @keithdunn or #BM100 on Twitter.
If this sounds intriguing to you, I highly recommend watching the documentary about the race!
In 2017 Gary Robbins was 6 seconds too late to finish the race within the 60-hour cut-off, almost becoming the 16th runner ever to complete the Barkley. However, he had taken a wrong turn in the race’s final stages, thus cutting two miles off the course. He would have been disqualified even if he had been faster. Gary Robbins has been followed by a camera crew for over two years, documenting his two attempts at completing The Barkley Marathons. In the documentary, you see the sacrifices that come with dedicating one’s life to completing this mythical race. I recommend this documentary as a follow-up if you enjoyed the Barkley-movie!