The Marathon Inspired by a Prison Break

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The races known as the Barkley Marathons are considered to be some of the toughest in the United States, if not the world. There are 60-mile and 100-mile versions of the Barkley. Participants of the 100-mile race climb over 59,200 feet of rugged, mountainous terrain in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee.

In its 28-year history, only 14 runners out of approximately 800 have finished the Barkley within the 60-hour time limit. Barkley Marathons registration is limited to only 35 runners, openings which generally are taken within one day. 

This video by Denver-based filmmaker Brendan Young informs viewers about the race. Founder Gary Cantrell came up with the idea for the race after watching a news item on a failed prison escape by James Earl Ray, assassinator of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Via Laughing Squid. 


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An interesting article by Matthew Everett over at Metro Pulse about the Barkley "fun run" Marathon:

The elevation gain over five loops is roughly equivalent to two times the height of Mount Everest. GPS isn’t allowed, and much of the unmarked course goes straight up the sides of the park’s many 3,000-foot peaks, through downed trees and patches of malicious sawbriers that rip runners’ arms and legs to shreds. The Barkley community has given unofficial names like Testicle Spectacle, Rat Jaw, Son of a Bitch Ditch, Meth Lab Hill, Big Hell, and the Bad Thing to the park’s geographic features.

“This is not a race, this is a colonoscopy gone wrong,” one runner said after finishing a single loop in 2010.
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"Barkley Marathons?" What kind of wimpy name is that? If you want an exciting prison-themed athletic event, you can't beat the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Swim the frigid shark-infested waters of San Francisco Bay, with deadly currents that can sweep you halfway to Japan!

If you make landfall, you then have to assault a random bicycle courier and steal his bike for the second event: a bicycle race through the deadly gauntlet of The Financial District!

Finally, running at top speed up the sisyphean hills of San Francisco!

Only the best and toughest will survive! Only the survivors can win!
(OK, I think I exaggerate a bit on some of the details)
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