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Thread: Barkley Marathons.

  1. #1
    Master Nathaniel Lee's Avatar
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    Barkley Marathons.

    I have found a race that is annually set in Frozen Head State Park, Nr Wartburg Tennessee that is a 5 loop 100 mile race with a 60 hr cut off. It is self sufficient but you can return to your tent at the end of each loop to rest or restock.The course requires navigation and compass skills and has a total elevation gain/loss of about 58000 ft this tends to be short sharp climbs of 1000 to 1600 ft over about a mile. In 25 years there has only been 10 finishers of the approx 1000 runners. It does seem surprising the last figure as a number of well known ultrarunners like David Horton have run it. I think the problem may be that these guys don't have the self sufficiency and navigational skills that long distance fell runners automatically have. I really think some of you guys who are at the top end of fell running could really show them a thing or two british invasion style. The other issue is that you have to know the e mail of the race director and what day to send it on and there are only 35 runners a year.
    If any of you are interested i do have the secret info as regards the e mail and what day to send it on. Any further info can be found on Matt Mahoneys site. Just put Barkley Marathons in Google.
    They called me mad and i called them mad and damn them they outvoted me !!!.

  2. #2

    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    I've just got a book called Tales from out there and I don't think any of the top fell runners have a cat in hell's chance of doing this, you'd never see most of them again
    Bill

  3. #3
    Master Nathaniel Lee's Avatar
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    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    I have the book also and it's great. Surely there must be guys who can do it. I will make comparisons.

    U.S. Ultrarunner

    1. Very frequent aid stations.{Self sufficiency not required.}
    2. Marked trails. {Navigation not required.}
    3. Pacers. {Company helps when low.}
    4. Generous cut offs. { Just look at the percentage of finishers even in top races.}
    5. Easy Terrain. { Not meaning elevation or anything like that more meaning quality of surface underfoot.}

    U.K. Fell Runner.

    1. Navigational skills very necessary. {In most races.}
    2. Self Sufficiency Required. {Especially over long distance races.}
    3. No Pacers.{ Used to going alone for long lengths of time.}
    4. Moors and Bogs and Unmarked routes.{Would not be frightened of hard terrain.}
    5. Very used to inclement and changeable weathers. { The Barkley has lots of this just like northern fells.}

    Surely i make a case for our boys here. Do you reconsider Baggins.
    They called me mad and i called them mad and damn them they outvoted me !!!.

  4. #4

    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    I thought most completers are long distance hiking specialists ie used to going for days/weeks at a time, some of them were doing 50/60,000 feet of climbing a week in training

    I'd say the top mountain marathoners might have a better chance.

    To complete the Barkley I'd say

    1. need loads of steep climbing in the legs
    2. able to cope with lack of sleep over three days
    3. able to cope with snow, rain and heat all in the same day.
    4. enjoys running through brambles
    5. stubbon, is able to finish what they have started no matter how bad it gets.
    6. likes trees

    :wink:
    Bill

  5. #5
    Master Nathaniel Lee's Avatar
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    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    And undercooked Chicken !!!.
    They called me mad and i called them mad and damn them they outvoted me !!!.

  6. #6

    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    More info here for any takers.

    Must admit after yesterdays "diversion" through Ennerdale forest the Barkley looks rather tame

    Garmin said I was doing 90 min/miles going downhill!

    In all seriousness I think fell runners would do ok as most are used to going out in all conditions, so should do at least the fun run but it sounds very tough mentally going into a second night most likley navigating on your own as well as playing mind games with Gary
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    Read the book too and it sounds like a nutty race, one designed for people not to finish rather than to acheive.
    I wouldn't underestimate some of the Yanks who have run it, just because most of their races are not self-sufficient
    It does sound like a lot of scrub hacking and so more of a jungle attack than a run route

    I did really like the idea of checkpoints just being a random book they have to tear a page from

  8. #8
    Senior Member Don't fear the sweeper's Avatar
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    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    The first person to succeed at the Barkley was a Brit.

    I don't like the idea of one of the books (that you need to tear a page from) being in a rattlesnake nest.

  9. #9
    Master Hank's Avatar
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    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    Wow... that looks rough! The account of the course record holder is an interesting read. 55+ hours for 100 miles, pretty much 60,000 feet of climb and descent with a dislocated collar bone to boot. The few snaps of terrain look dreadful. Good luck to anyone brave/daft enough to give it a crack.

  10. #10
    Senior Member barnyc's Avatar
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    Re: Barkley Marathons.

    that does actually look like hell on earth

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