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Think You're Hard? Prove it.

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  • Think You're Hard? Prove it.

    Caught an indie film about this event a few nights ago and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

    Actual total course distance varies each year but is closer to 130 miles with 60,000 ft of gain, with a 60 hour limit. On average 1 in 40 people complete it. No GPS devices or altimeters allowed, no course map provided aside from what you can interpret from the organizer's notes and a single shared master map, and 60% bushwhack (no trail marking allowed).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkley_Marathons
    “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

  • #2
    According to this video, the application process is "a secret"!?! Crazy stuff!



    I see Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer's name on the finisher's list. That gives me an inkling about what's needed to finish this monster!
    Looking for Views!

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    • #3
      The only way I know to register for this event is to win the Barkley Fall Classic, which is a scaled down version and has a fairly typical sign-up process. Doing this gets you automatic entry into the big event. The Spring Barkley just concluded last night or early this morning, and I believe there was one finisher this year.

      When you think about it, averaging 2 - 2.3 mph doesn't seem that bad, until you consider the terrain and the fact that you'd have to maintain this pace for 60 hours straight to complete the course in the maximum allowable time. For comparison, I believe the FKT for full NPT is around 50 hours now, but that doesn't include the gain involved in completing the Barkley. Pretty hardcore.
      “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestion, just finished watching it. It's on Netflix for those interested.

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        • #5
          'just finished "crewing" for a runner going for his second 100 miler. 30 hours max time limit. Smooth track for entire length of the course, 8 @ 12.5 mile loops. I walked the 6th and half of the 7th loop with the runner (the runner called it after that--not enough left in the tank to finish.) Runners in the Barkley's type of endurance run are part crazy and part just plain inspiring. It is amazing what the human body and spirit can accomplish.
          46/46, 13/46w "I only went out for a walk, and concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." John Muir

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          • #6
            Barkley's make "normal" 100 mile races look easy...
            This post is for entertainment purposes only.

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            • #7
              The failure stories from the Barkley's are really interesting too. There have been US Special Operations guys who have gotten "temporarily" misplaced by doing their land nav incorrectly, and there have been world class ultra runners who bail after the first lap because the terrain is too extreme and they bonk.

              “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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              • #8
                If they had age categories I'd enter.
                Project Full Deck Blog.
                Make a "Full-Deck" Donation to SAR

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                • #9
                  Neil When I was researching this event I was honestly thinking that this might be just the event for you, Joe, and Rich (and couple others...you know who you are). Honestly I'd like to give it a go myself, with the full understanding that if I was selected it would be as the "sacrificial lamb." This title is secretly given to one runner each year who has no business being there. Only the event organizers know who he/she is and have their own guesses as to how this person will do.
                  “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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                  • #10
                    I'd bet both jwellford and rich99 can do it.
                    ADK 46/46, 46/46W, Grid 214/552
                    Photos & Stuff

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                    • #11
                      Speaking of hard races. Here's a somewhat local race, easy to enter, and possibly the hardest half marathon and marathon. April 16th. I'm doing the half.

                      http://rednewtracing.com/BreakneckPoint
                      I might be kidding...

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                      • #12
                        I am pretty sure I would need a year to prepare. In the meanwhile there's the second Vertical K on Whiteface coming soon.
                        Project Full Deck Blog.
                        Make a "Full-Deck" Donation to SAR

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                        • CatskillKev
                          CatskillKev commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Yeah, they look pretty hard, too.

                      • #13
                        My training partner, Sheryl Wheeler was telling me about the Barkley. She might do it. She has the fastest known time, including for guys, at the 122 and 133 mile Northville Placid Trail. Under 40 hours for the 133.
                        I might be kidding...

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                        • #14
                          CatskillKev I've never met her but I'm familiar with her accomplishments and what she had to overcome to do what she's done. She'd be an excellent entry into the Barkley.
                          “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
                            I'd bet both jwellford and rich99 can do it.
                            I don't know, from what I understand Barkley is really hard and it's built to break you. I think it's much harder than anything I've ever done and that I have no chance to survive it.

                            However I think the failure rate is a bit skewed. We can see people doing it in shorts without shin protection which is nonsense considering all the bushwhack one has to do, so a lot of contestants come from the trail running word and have no chance or idea what rough hiking is. It's already hard during the day, then you need to continue at night, sleep deprived and I'm sure they make you go in mud and nasty stuff that will break the feet.

                            The guys that win it are FKT guys so they know what they're doing and often don't succeed. I wonder if they limit the field to keep the race's prestige, because a bunch of good racers would just attack it in a team. Maybe they have some rules setup to avoid this. I think Barkley is harder or just as hard as some of the 100-300 miles FKT, but you only have one chance.

                            I thought it was a stupid race before, especially the book pages and registration, but the more I bushwhack and orient the more it's something I'd like to do, just not ready yet. My adventure racer friend really wants to do it and will try to register next year.

                            Edit: Just saw Gary Robbins has failed it. This guy has a lot of FKT and is a top level trail runner, I thought he'd at least finish the course, which shows how hard the race is. Route finding at night got the best of him.

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