A cult-like race that tempts people from around the world to test their limits of physical and mental endurance. A documentary that contemplates the value of pain and a documentary that is well worth your time.
2020 has been a tough year for many, a hot mess, a shit show and a cluster fuck. And, if this year has taught us anything, (science, religion and politics aside) it's that you have to admire the tenacity of those doing it tougher than you. There's no eject, no unsubscribe or no ripcord. It's a simple case of head down bum up, undoubtedly easier said than done. It may sound trite, it may sound cliche, though there's a lot of truth to the saying, what doesn't kill you, will only make you stronger.
Determination and perseverance in a situation you can't control is one thing, but choosing to throw yourself in forecasted chaos is another. Something north Vancouver's Gary Robbins knows all about. In a small town out of Tennessee, they're breeding a new type of determination, perseverance and tenacity. It's won and earned through what is most likely the hardest trail race in the world? It's also one of the strangest, too. It's something along the lines of ultramarathon meets scavenger hunt, sans Google maps and road markings, no kidding. To say the Barkley Marathons is odd would be an understatement.
You see, The Barkley Marathons course was designed by Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell. His concept, 'inspired' by the 1977 jail escape of James Earl Ray, he's the freak who killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
And, for those of you playing at home, King was an African-American, Christian minister who lead the civil rights movement from 1955 until 1968. A pretty big deal in America's history, but this ain't the time for politics. Let's keep running.
“If you can't fly then run if you can't run then walk if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”― Martin Luther King Jr.
Escaping from a state penitentiary, Earl Ray ran for 55 hours, only covering the short distance of 13 km or 8 miles. Believing he could do better, Gary, the event organiser and ex-ultrarunner started The Barkley Marathon.
In short, The Barkley Marathons is an ultramarathon trail race held in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. It's considered to be the hardest trail rain in the world. At this point, you're probably wondering why you've never seen or heard of it, don't worry, me too
Through a secret application process, the marathon accepts only 35 runners each year. The approximate 160 km or 100-mile, un-marked, ever-changing course, sees runners push themselves through thick bush and perilous terrain while fighting the weather and collecting specific pages out of hidden books which correlate to their bib number. Oh, and runners have under 60 hours to complete the course, too. And, just to give this further context, it's the equivalent of climbing and descending Mount Everest twice. Suffice to say, few have finished and even fewer have started.
If you can spare and 1:20 minutes of your life to be inspired, be pushed and motivated, in whatever you're working towards, I humbly suggest you watch 'Where Dreams go to Die'. It very well may help you achieve yours. Check it out on YouTube here.
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