Barkley 100 – World's most difficult and bizarre sporting event?

Barkley 100 – World's most difficult and bizarre sporting event?



eight years passed since James Earl Ray began serving a 99-year prison sentence for the assassination of dr. King police with bloodhounds on the ground helicopters in the air all of them scouring a fine square mile area in the rugged Tennessee Hill country around the maximum-security Brushy Mountain prison near Petros Tennessee the object of their manhunt six convicts including James Earl Ray getting out of brushing around the prison his money back others have done it but getting out of Morgan County is something else rushing Mountain and neighboring frozen head rise up sharply behind the prison to three thousand feet and this is rough country when James Earl Ray escaped and I'd been backpacking up here for years before that so we watched it on TV like everyone else and we were laughing at him only making eight and a half miles in 54 hours and I said you know in Attica time I could have gone 100 miles because I was young and cotton and Oliver came together horn I just like the challenge when I was in high school running a faster 5k that was a challenge now that I'm out and in the adult world running fast isn't quite as attractive as a challenge for me it's more how far can I go how crazy of a course can I compete you know what what are my limits in terms of endurance not speed I'm a very type-a person and just having a plan for my day makes it a lot easier for me to live day to day and having fitness activity of some sort be part of that makes me feel better about myself and gives me something to plan my day around besides work which if work was my focus it'd be a pretty boring life the initial attraction was the difficulty level at the time I still really had no conception of what my limits were for endurance or stubbornness after that it was learning about just kind of the crazy community that makes up the people who do Berkeley people who are so devoted to the race and I want to do it year after year and even if they don't get in love it and want to be there and to support it and just buy into the Berkeley culture that kind of community is very attractive to me I've always had a tendency to run my mom says I started walking when I was nine months old and I hadn't walked since that everywhere I go I run it was one of the greatest accomplishments in my life to be the first finisher of the Berkeley it's become very important to me last year I came close to thinking I should give it up because for the first time in 17 attempts last year I did not finish the first loop within the time limit as I've gotten older and slower and the Berkeley has gotten bigger and harder it becomes a real challenge for me just to do a loop or two what that stake for me is to still be the best runner I can so I would say some self-respect is is in it for me it's hard for me to think that I won't be able to do it almost every other hundred mile out there the lack of a finish is a failure at Berkeley the lack of finishing five Luke's is technically a failure but my understanding is it doesn't feel like a failure you go as far as you possibly can and learn what that distance what that capacity is we have a lot of really educated people most of them are people who are very successful they like challenges they're used to succeeding and they're not afraid to try something where they'll probably fail it has an appeal to them to know that as they have to fight the eyes used to be a pretty prolific runner ultra runner himself the races is his personality so as quirky as unique of a race that the Berkeley is he's the same way to some extent many of the features of the Berkeley were created as a parody of the sport when typical race events hit the $1 a mile a guideline for entry fees he set the Berkeley entry fee at one penny per mile it's not a feat of finance I look at a lot of what people do and I think well it's not really a feat of athletics it's a feat of finance this is a feat of athletics the guy right there Jared Campbell he's one hard rock pretty much Alpine climbing as a hundred mile race two years ago the first year I came in pretty blind I had never been to the park I felt kind of like a tourist in a sense I mean I was really dependent on other people to get around the park I really loved the experience it was a really really neat thing to go through but I really kind of wanted to come back and do it on my own which is why I came back last year and wanted to come back again because last year didn't quite go the way I wanted it to nobody knows when it's going to start right now it's between midnight and noon we've started as early as 2:00 a.m. as late as 11 o'clock in the morning so as far as planning what you're carrying on what you're doing we blow that an hour before the start comes down to each person's individual mental strength and physical capability now how long till the light comes on with the barclays there's no hand-holding there's there's no markings you're off trail for a good portion of it you're going strictly by map and compass and you're on your own so it's really pushing people to limits that they've never been asked to be pushed to in a typical ultramarathon and that's I think what the big draw is for this we set up the lottery so that it's not just for the elite elite athletes because I think everyone should have a chance to really put themselves to the test but you haven't tested your limit until you try something you can't do then you know where you live it is it's right there where I quit that was that was it that's not really a race against necessarily the other people who are running but it's just more a competition kind of against yourself and the clock historically you know there's been such a few number of finishers that it was just a person who could go the longest and kind of endure the longest and that person generally would be you know the winner it's a twirly at some point you're gonna hurt so bad that if you give yourself an excuse to stop you're going to stop so there can't be any excuses and it's you know it at at certain points it's almost a hundred percent mental there's no physical really left and it's just can i push through this whatever I'm dealing with can I push through what's left the nature of it that it is purposely adjusted and created to be at the limit of possibility that to me is unique in the world of sports certainly you need to be physically fit for it I'm in too gnarly course it's it's really long tons of vertical but up and down things that I really love but the navigation is really tricky you always keep it with slight changes otherwise you people just come and they know the whole race and then you can just start doing it by repetition there should always be something in there where every runner has to they have to stop and think we put books out there like unmanned checkpoints and you see me giving them their numbers and they get that page out of the book and then they bring them back scull to bad places and if they don't have one of their pages they their loop doesn't count and it happens it happened last year it was it was tragic you have to have a good sense of humor if you if you're just totally serious about the whole thing it would be torture and you have to be serious about what you do but you need to be able to laugh at yourself because you may be walking back down quitters road no matter how well you prepared or how good you are if something goes wrong and it doesn't have to be your fault that was you did a fantastic job experience ever just enjoyed every minute of it why it was not easier than you expected oh yeah no not no no I always regret you could not have suffered longer thank you worst is my worst this is my 18th time here at Berkeley is the first time I ever quit burning Luke wanted the converted conditions are horrible I'm cold and wet but we're still proud did not do it don't party is here call to the wet even slippery slippery I hardly stay on my feet I did what I could I'm not ashamed unlike many hundred mile events that you go and attempt every have 1012 hours you are back at the start/finish line the availability to in your race is much more accessible have your stuff just dialed in get in and get out as fast as you can don't allow yourself to County get involved into the to the creature comforts because it's it's a deadly I was feeling really good I was I was happy that I was going to finish a loop that I would officially be a veteran that I was going to come into camp in decent shape with no major issues and so coming off a chimney top on that runnable mark trail I flew I mean I was moving surprisingly well and that just filled me with a lot of confidence I was uncomfortably cold but not hypothermic my hands were having some trouble moving I was having some trouble eating but I could still choke calories down my feet were rough but they weren't completely sore they mentally break you know 60 hours no sleep constant climbing and descending you have to find yourself on a map there's no no Pacers to find the way you're out there by yourself all day and all night there was nothing about me that I would say was going well or that I could rely on as a reservoir of strength I just I couldn't find it within myself to mentally power through all the things that were going wrong and so I chose to come back I wasn't tough enough this year if someone goes out and they make a mistake or they they go through a period of weakness they're gone you have to do everything right and you can never waver but it can be done by the time that especially you get on into it you want them to succeed so bad they've gone through so much they've done so much to do it I'm very fond of these people the ones that the ones that get out there and and are willing to take on that kind of a challenge my hat is off to him he whether they succeed or fail the berkeley is very internal nobody comes out here for fame until a few years ago very few people even knew about this race they're out here to say yeah I did it I did one lap or three laps or five laps and that's the reward as less as the reward is not having to go out again I'm gonna guess it which one it is way to rock 3:15 good job oh you're strong it's more important to look good than the fuel that's a good punt that extracted part of my soul shop time light man it should be about that granny thing I was in a bad place a good place now Wow I'll probably drink the soup and then go try something like right away for about an hour how old are ya what time is that yeah crazy but I'm gonna be coming kind of close okay we'll see you all later all right see you soon I got lost for a few moments on the fifth lap and I just laid down I was just done I was just in another world and I just remember just looking up into the trees and just sort of seeing the leaves move and just paying more attention to that in a way that you don't in normal life you know yeah there's so much like a noise floor almost a daily life of you know work and school and all the minutiae of life but all that was just gone it took like 50 hours of tromping around these woods to sort of get to that mental state but that for me was really special it just really distilled existence bring it home nice work thank you thank you got 13 pages I count 13 man you ought to recap great job thank you see him sit there as they always do for some reason after they touch the yellow gate the last time they just kind of it's like you cut the strings on it or is there a marionette they just someone will be there with a chair and they just sit there and you can see this the extremes of joy that can come with sports that you only get when failure was probable you feel like you have a little bit of a duty to finish here the only one out there I live for that's gonna be like thinking about everyone here happy I guess I better crabs I have to look at there is some dragon that was not not the proudest running out over there thanks a lot last why do you keep coming it's ladies Nicky Meyer inspiring every time that's the unique thing that you've created here unique little beast the runners was making what it is every time someone finishes I feel like I am just elevated by being there to have seen something that difficult achieved

40 Replies to “Barkley 100 – World's most difficult and bizarre sporting event?”

  1. I got teary as the race started.
    The organiser is such a colourful character and the participants are certifiably crazy (in a good way).
    This event makes the 100km Ultra Trail Australia event look like a walk in the park (a very nice World Heritage listed park, at that)
    Bravissimo!

  2. Why that guy smokes cigarettes is beyond me. Is he not smarter than that? Supposedly he use to be an ultra runner but I call BS. No runner smokes cigarettes, not even an ex runner. If that's the fact then this man has given up on life and resolved to the fact he doesn't care when or how he dies. It will be from smoking, you would think he would know this. I wouldn't run this race just because this idiot starts it with a lit cigarette. Pull your head out of your ass fella.

  3. This dude is an absolute machine. If you look at the other finishers or even near finishers, they look devastated, mentally and physically. This dude looks like he's returned from his routine morning run.

  4. Damn this kind of documentary.. Damn it to hell. Making me feel like I could do a whole lot more than I actually can do…

  5. 1 mile = 1,6km.
    1 loop = 20 miles = 32km.
    A racer completed 1 loop in 11 hours.
    That gives 20mins and 37sec /km.

    That seems really weird in numbers. What am I missing?

    HUGE creds to all who participate of course. Just wondering about the math, and if the racenumbers that are presented in the beginning, are correct.

  6. They have replicated a prison run , with people who would not be escaping from prison . They for sure are winners as long as they get further than J E R

  7. Have you heard of "The Terrestrial Nomad Podcast"? I hiked the PCT in
    2015 and recorded 60 episodes. I also have recorded my 17-18 thru hike
    of the Te Araroa Trail in NZ and some travel in-between. Its not the
    best quality podcast out there but i don't take myself too serious.
    Cheers!

  8. I'm surprised that there aren't a lot of special forces guys doing this event. They know better than most what it is to push their limits, and they also would be great at land navigation.

  9. Now this is real ultra,this is how ultra trail should look like.Here you see real runners with compas and map…….

  10. In 2017, Gary Robbins made a wrong turn with 2 miles to go and returned 6 seconds over the 60 hour cutoff.
    Wow. I wonder how that guy felt. Probably classed it as a completion internally but would it go on to haunt him?

  11. LAME, just LAME.  want to do an event that is real and long? Then try doing what my great grandparents did. In 1910 my grandmother was born to them and then they had 15 more kids and by 1939 my great grandfather died and left my great grandmother with everything to deal with.  Think about it, 16 kids and none of the modern thing that we have plus NO welfare or social services.   these people who piss away their time on sports and think that they are doing anything are beyond LAME.

  12. Lesson: When you travel out into the nature that God has created just for you. Remember to leave the ratrace behind, and take the time to relax, breathe, and absorb it. You simply can not “smell the roses” when you’re in a hurry. Some might say it’s like gulping rather than sipping fine whisky. Slow down kids. If you are inclined to believe that “the journey is the destination”,… then why rush it? Why risk breaking the vessel that gets you through this journey? You should also give your body many, many times more care than anything that you own.

  13. I read that Mark Williams from the U.K. was the first finisher of the Barkley Marathons. Not Ed Furtaw.

  14. Jared, you are amazing! So humble and mentally and physically strong. Your statement about the obligation to finish since you were the only one left was powerful. I hope kids and teens get to see and hear your words.
    Laz, you must be the sweetest sadist ever! Lol

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