"The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

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"The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:35 pm

I watched this documentary on Netflix yesterday on the advice of a friend-- I can't believe I had never heard of this race. It is legendary in the ultra-community. I highly recommend the movie! http://barkleymovie.com/

The Barkley Marathons ultra-marathon covers 100 miles total in the mountains of Tennessee (although participants say it's actually 130 miles-- so 5 marathon distances) that must be finished in under 60 hours. Which sounds reasonable (if you're a multi-day ultra-runner), except that there is over 60,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain. It is 5 loops, each 20 (or 26), and some people plan for "only" the "fun run" distance of 60 mile or three loops. Sometimes there are only 2-3 finishers of the full distance, sometimes one or none. The route changes each year and some people keep going back. (There is also an interesting application and admission process, but I'll leave that for those who want to watch the movie).

After watching the movie I did a bit more reading about it and learned that BC's own Gary Robbins is returning to Barkley this year for his second attempt. Gary is a very accomplished ultra-runner, coach, and also a race director for several trail and ultra races in this area.

Article about Gary and Barkley in Canadian Running: http://runningmagazine.ca/barkley-mad/

Gary's blog (with some great videos about the peak of his training, which just finished last week): http://garyrobbinsrun.com/
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby ultraslacker » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:38 pm

I'm amazed you didn't hear about it last year when he was out there... it was all over local news, trail news and Facebook. And he's been bombing up and down bcmc all spring! :)


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Re:

Postby Jwolf » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:48 pm

ultraslacker wrote:I'm amazed you didn't hear about it last year when he was out there... it was all over local news, trail news and Facebook. And he's been bombing up and down bcmc all spring! :)

I know! I guess I was still consumed with personal stuff and not always paying attention to the local and ultra-racing news last year.

Anyway, I'm caught up and following now!
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby La » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:49 pm

I think I saw this about a year ago as well. ;)
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:52 pm

La wrote:I think I saw this about a year ago as well. ;)


He's ready to try again on Friday. :)

The links I posted in the the post above are new-- one from yesterday.
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby deerdree » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:20 pm

thanks for posting - i'll check out the documentary!

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby tayken » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:53 pm

So, if Gary who is an accomplished ultra runner can't finish it, what chance do average Jo's have in finishing this race???

There is that word again..."loops" :naughty:
On the books for 2017

Winterman 10km - (1st in age group) - Feb 19,
Chilly Half Marathon - Mar 5 (Done)
Around the bay 30k - Mar 26, (Done)
Limestone 1/2 - Apr 30,
Ottawa race weekend Voyager Challenge - May 27-28,
Spring Fling Toronto - June?
World Record Kilt Run Perth - June 24
Foam Fest 5k Ottawa - Jul 22
Pure Protein Night Race - Aug 12
Army Run Vimy Challenge - Sep 17
Marathon Du P'tit Train Du Nord Quebec - Oct 22

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:59 pm

tayken wrote:So, if Gary who is an accomplished ultra runner can't finish it, what chance do average Jo's have in finishing this race???

No chance- no average joes in this race.
In all 32 years there have been less than 20 finishers TOTAL (40 entrants each year).
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:31 pm

Athlete....Maniac 973....Marathon Maniac 6645
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:24 pm

Spirit Unleashed wrote:I love this guy's race reports:

http://lakewoodhiker.blogspot.com/2012/ ... eport.html

Cool! He was featured in the documentary.
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby NMG » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:33 pm

I watched it on Netflix last year, and yeah, it was pretty cool :)

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Dstew » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:19 pm

A dissenting opinion: The Badwater Ultra or the Leadville race are tough and gruelling and there is no guarantee of even finishing but with the right approach and some luck, a person can and will finish. This is man v nature. In my opinion, Barkley is not a race in any sense of the word and crosses the fine line between a legitimate test into a silly gimmick. The route is random, the books are silly and even how to get in is arbitrary and so this event is a ode to nihilism rather than a true athletic endeavour. To me, to apply the logic and thinking between Barkley would be the same as the Banff race organizers telling the participants, we are not going to reroute the course just because two grizzly bears are fighting near the current route because risking life and limb merely adds an extra level of challenge. I do appreciate it is a matter of semantics but I believe words and definitions do matter and thus my objections would be lessened or even abandoned if it were called the Barkley challenge or another such term. It is not a race, it is not a marathon it is a test of survival and determination to merely complete a near impossible task. To each their own but in my totally subjective opinion, it is no different than someone who gets lost in the woods and wonders around aimlessly for a couple of days. I would not hold that person in any higher esteem nor do I anyone who participants in an man devised obstacle course meant merely to have people fail.

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby daddy_runner » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:18 am

There are average Joes in the race. Each year, a few sacrificial virgins are accepted.
Plan for 2017:
END-SURE 25k...done! 2:30:23
Spruce Woods Ultra volunteering...done!
Kettle Moraine 100
Western States 100 crewing
Falcon Fatass 50k
Superior 100

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:00 pm

Race started at 1:42 am EDT this morning.
Gary is on his third lap now, having finished lap 2 with John Kelly in 20:18. They took 55 minutes at camp before heading out for lap 3.
So far so good...
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:56 am

The race seems signicantly harder this year than last year. According to some tweets, some say there is little chance anyone will finish. Gary and John are the only two that have a chance in finishing the whole thing- we'll see how they are doing when they finish lap 3. They might be the only ones who finish lap 3 before the 36-hour cutoff (10:42 am PDT).

Eta: They're in! Just over 33 hours, and they get to do Loop 4 in mostly daylight.

https://twitter.com/keithdunn/status/848547245662371840
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:21 pm

Loop 4 done! Gary and John are the only ones left-- finished loop 4 at 46:26. It will be a tight final loop -- wonder if they can do it!!

https://twitter.com/keithdunn/status/848750537461968896
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby jonovision_man » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:48 am

Pretty intriguing. 4 hours to go, sounds like they both have a chance?

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:08 am

last facebook update from Linda was 10 hours ago, when Gary started loop 5, so it's just wait wait wait!! I hope he's ok!!
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:10 am

One of the girls on site posted half an hour ago: "Raining pretty hard for a few hours now at Barkley, fog rolling in. Gary (and John) has 3 hours to finish, it'll be tight, but we have faith in him! #gogarygo"
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:52 am

"More details - we missed Gary at the tower but thought there was a headlamp running down at 5:05. John has no rain gear, and he came up to the fire tower soaking wet in pouring rain and nasty fog, 55 degrees and windy. He was wearing a grocery bag he found, and put on a beanie he found coming up rat jaw. He slept twice last night, looked very mentally strong. Left at 9:06. He looked dead set on finishing.
It's a race to the gate on the bell lap for these 2. We could have 2 finishers."
https://www.instagram.com/p/BSbNOHrBZPd/
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:17 pm

I just saw an update that John was in at 59:30! Trying to verify... and still waiting for Gary.
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby jonovision_man » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:25 pm

Dstew wrote: The route is random


In life, the route is often random.

*mind blown*

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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby Jwolf » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:29 pm

John is in! Apparently the first thing he said when he hit the gate was "Where is Gary?"

https://instagram.com/p/BSbnWG6BNTW/
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby jonovision_man » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:35 pm

Jwolf wrote:John is in! Apparently the first thing he said when he hit the gate was "Where is Gary?"

https://instagram.com/p/BSbnWG6BNTW/


Mine would have been "Where is pizza?" or "Where is beer?" or "Where is dry?"
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Re: "The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young"

Postby jonovision_man » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:36 pm

Or "Where are my legs?"
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