The Barkley Marathons
I just heard about the Barkley Marathons for the first time, and despite the 98% failure rate, it sounds pretty epic. :-) I wish we had something in this spirit for marathon swimming, although I'm not sure exactly how that would work... But maybe this posting will spark someone's creativity... :-)
- 100 (some say 130) miles over 60 hours
- $1.60 entry fee
- no website, or public explanation of how to enter
- only 40 runners per year; includes a "sacrificial virgin" who is selected based on their expected inability to finish the event (how's that for a psychological thorn?)
- when you are accepted, you receive a "letter of condolences"
- you aren't given the event date until after you are accepted
- participants aren't given a start time, just a 12-hour window. The race director blows a conch shell to signal that the participants have one hour to get ready.
- the course is not marked, you're not allowed to use a GPS, and the course instructions include gems such as: “Look down. See that brier-choked, steep hillside? That is the Zip Line Trail. Go down, and bear only a little to the left.”
- the elevation gain (and loss) is double Mount Everest
- the race director plays "Taps" on a bugle for those that DNF
- oh and then there's the 98% failure rate...