Have you heard of The Barkley Marathons?
… The Barkley Marathons is actually two races run on the same course, a 100 Mile Run and a 60 Mile Fun Run. It is held annually in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee sometime in late March or early April.
The course itself, which has changed distance, route, and elevation many times since its inaugural run in 1986, currently consists of a 20-mile (32 km) loop with no aid stations except water at two points along the route and the runner’s parked car at the beginning of the loop.
Runners of the 100 Mile version run this loop five times, with loops three and four being run in the opposite direction and loop five being runner’s choice. Runners of the 60 Mile Fun Run (considered to be harder than Hardrock) complete three circuits of the loop.
With 54,200 feet (16,500 m) of accumulated vertical climb, the 100 Mile Run is considered to be one of the more challenging ultramarathons held in the United States, if not the world.
Only 8 runners have ever finished within the 60hr cut-off. The record is currently held by Andrew Thompson who finished in 57:37. (In 2005 he set the current speed record for the Appalachian Trail, 2160 miles in 47 days + 13:31.)
I just listened to the most amazing podcast. It vividly recounts a near success from Neal Jamison’s book – Running Through the Wall … Personal Encounters With the Ultramarathon.
Click through to listen to it on Endurance Planet:
If you want to run The Barcley yourself, here’s the official website: The Barkley Marathons – 100 Mile Run
photo – Washington Post – Punishing Race Is an Enticing Lost Cause