Saturday, February 28, 2015

Barkley, Here I Come!

"Barkley."  It's a word that strikes a fear in many ultrarunners. The Barkley Marathons (100+ mile trail ultra) is the toughest race in the world. Some of the best athletes in the world come to Tennessee every April and almost all of them fail to even finish the race. I've been entranced by this race since I learned about it over 15 years ago. I even dreamed of running, or more appropriately, participating in the race. I never had delusions of finishing the event, or even completing the 60 mile "fun run" (3 loops). I figured I might, if in the best shape of my life, just barely stick with a veteran and drag my ass to a 20-mile (one loop) finish. Hey, I can dream.

While I dreamed of challenging the famed Barkley course, I knew it would never happen. You need to apply (secretly) to even enter the race. Then you need to be picked. Then train like crazy. And remain injury free. My path to the starting line had too many obstacles. It wasn't going to happen. I was still infatuated, but I had no real chance to participate.

Then, in 2014, came the Barkley Fall Classic 50K. It's a shorter, and slightly taimed down, version of the beast. It shares much of the regular Barkley course, but it actually has some course markings and aid stations. Still plenty of hills and briars. It's actually doable. A finish is possible. A slow finish, but still a finish. That 2014 race filled up in about 48 hours. I missed my chance.

Enter 2015. The Barkley Fall Classic registration opened up on February 26. I entered on February 26. I'm in. This is real. I'll chronicle my training as I get ready for the September 19 race date. Here's a look at what I'm getting myself into. The first is a short 2-minute trailer for a fantastic documentary about Barkley 100. The second is a 22-minute video from Vimeo. Both are pretty interesting and insightful. I should probably start training. Now.

Barkley 100 from Zefyr on Vimeo.

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