The Barkley Marathons

This is 26 minutes of the coolest podcast I've ever listened to. It's about the Barkley Marathons and one man's attempt at becoming only the second person to ever finish it. The Barkley is a very un-publicized ultra marathon in the Appalachian Mountains that consists of running five 20-mile unmarked loops. It's incredibly rugged terrain and racers must rely on their orienteering skills to figure out where to go. Cutoffs are enforced at 12 hours per lap and racers are given up to 60 hours to navigate the full 100 miles. You're probably thinking that 12 hours to run 20 miles is more than enough time. In most circumstances, you would be right for thinking so. But not in the Barkley.

I've never heard of this race and no longer am interested in ultra running (those days are behind me) but I love just knowing events like this exist. The podcast is an excerpt from the book "Running Through the Wall" and is as eloquent as it is entertaining. The author, Dr. Blake Wood, did a phenomenal job of mixing just enough background info about the race with his own trials and tribulations.

Here's a link to the mp3 file or you can visit and scroll down to view the March 9th podcast in other formats. I recommend listening to it even if you're not really interested in endurance sports -- it will amaze.

Also, I should add that the EndurancePlanet podcasts are available on iTunes and are a great source of information for endurance athletes. The topics usually revolve around triathlon, but there are plenty of cycling and running interviews and discussions, as well as mountaineering, nutrition, and strength training episodes as well.

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