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Barkley Marathons from the Couch

This morning I watched The Barkley Marathons (2015) and took a look around wikipedia for an image I could use to represent it. There isn't a wikipedia page for the movie or the guy who administers the race and the page for the race doesn't have any pictures, but when I did a broader search of mentions of the race I found a page with a good picture. The page for the Kobayashi Maru test from Star Trek, the test known for it's impossibility has a reference that states, "io9 called the Barkley Marathons the "Kobayashi Maru of sporting events". Only 14 of the contest's 1,000 participants since 1986 have completed the event."

Captain Kirk publicity photo, Public Domain.

This is a documentary about an incredible event held in Tennessee every year where no more than 40 runners do a bit of a scavenger hunt/ trail run through the woods around a prison in a series of 5 loops for those who finish that is some distance between 100 and 130 miles. The entrants have to fill out an essay to get into the race, there's one person each year who physically has no business even trying (referred to as the "human sacrifice"), and the start time is at random sometime within a 12 hour window.

This is a very entertaining documentary with interesting characters and it made me feel better to be on my couch not getting blisters (that I know if yet). I think the moral of the documentary is that it is probably much more worth while to be a spectator of the race rather than a participant. Running a marathon seems pretty bad, running an ultra marathon seems like an exercise in how much you don't like yourself and The Barkley Marathons seems like a living nightmare of spiky plants and ski slope ascents.

I'd recommend watching this documentary streaming on netflix and to take your physical activities in moderation.

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