Video: The Barkely Marathons – The Toughest Race in the World?

I’ve written a bit about the Barkely Marathons before, but not nearly enough. It is an incredibly tough ultramarathon that takes place in my backyard here in Tennessee each year. At 100 miles (160 km) in length, it doesn’t seem any more challenging than other races of this length, but the course is a difficult one. Racers are required to complete 5 laps around a 20 mile (32 km) course that is as rough and rugged as any. Over the entire length of the ultra runners face 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) of vertical gain, in a grueling test of endurance that has only seen 10 people ever finish.

The video below serves as a bit of an introduction to the race. It is a trailer for a film called The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Easts Its Young. The documentary made the rounds at last year’s film festivals and received some acclaim for its depiction of this epic event.

By the way, the 2015 edition of the Barkley Marathons took place a few weeks back, and not a single entrant was able to finish. The tradition continues at what could be the hardest race on the planet.

Kraig Becker

3 thoughts on “Video: The Barkely Marathons – The Toughest Race in the World?”

  1. the bicycle race "Race Across America" is much harder, takes up to 12 days non stop. sleep deprivation , nutrition , endurance is more involved then this "short" race

  2. Thanks for the correction guys. I will have to see if I can catch it here in Nashville.

    And Caroline, of course "toughest" race is subjective to a degree, but considering how many people finish this race, it is right up there. You could make a case fro some of the top adventure races too. They have all of the qualifications you mention, and they're in the wilderness.

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