Barkley Marathons

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The Barkley Marathons is a 100 miles (160 km) run and a 60 miles (97 km) 'fun run' held annually in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee 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.

In addition to running, competitors must find between nine to eleven books along the course, the number varies per year, and remove the page corresponding to the runner's race number from each book as proof of completion.[1]

The cut-off time for the 100 mile race is 12 hours per loop, and the cut-off for the 60 mile version of the race is 40 hours overall, which averages out to approximately 13 hours and 20 minutes per loop. Since the race's inception in 1986, only 15 runners out of about 800 have completed the 100 mile race within the official 60 hour cut-off. In 2006 nobody finished even the 60 mile 'fun run' in under 40 hours. The best women's achievement is Sue Johnston's 66 miles (106 km) in 2001. More than 30 competitors failed to reach first book (two miles). [2] [3]

The race is limited to 35 runners and usually fills up quickly the day registration opens. Potential entrants must complete an essay on "Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley." The race starts at different times each year and is signaled by the lighting of a cigarette.

The course was designed by Gary Cantrell. His idea for the race was inspired upon hearing about Martin Luther King, Jr's assassin James Earl Ray escaping from prison, and making it only 8 miles (13 km) after running 55 hours in the woods. Cantrell said to himself "I could do at least 100 miles." Thus, the Barkley Marathons was born.


Name Year Time
Mark Williams 1995 59:28:48
David Horton 2001 58:21:00
Blake Wood 2001 58:21:01
Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer 2003 56:57:52
Mike Tilden 2004 57:25:18
Jim Nelson 2004 57:28:25
Brian Robinson 2008 55:42:27
Andrew Thompson 2009 57:37:19
Jonathan Basham 2010 59:18:44
Brett Maune 2011 57:13:33
Brett Maune 2012 52:03:08 (event record)
Jared Campbell 2012 56:00:15
John Fegyveresi 2012 59:41:21
Nick Hollon 2013 57:39:24
Travis Wildeboer 2013 58:41:45
Jared Campbell 2014 57:53:20


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Furtaw, Ed. (2010) Tales From Out There: The Barkley Marathons, The World's Toughest Trail Race, CreateSpace. ISBN 1-4505-4701-X