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  • Gareth Crook

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I’ve heard of The Barkley Marathons before, but this doc really nails it. Low-fi homespun logistics tying together possibly the nuttiest and toughest course on the planet. Invite only and limited to 40 entrants per year, to tackle a 130(ish) mile course, across mind bogglingly hard terrain that you have to navigate yourself, with map/compass, no GPS. 5 laps, in daylight and at night, going opposite directions on each loop. Most people don’t complete 1 Lap, never mind all 5. Completely solo, no help, no markers, no water stations, intentionally fluid organisation, even no set start time... but you only have 60 hours to complete it. With no markers and no GPS, can’t you cheat? No, there are books at various points in the woods and you have to find them all, tear out the page that matches your race number (that changes each loop) and get a full set. It is awe inspiring. It is heart breaking and it makes for gripping viewing. I’ve done some crazy races, but not a chance in hell I’d try this myself though.



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