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Athletes endure a bizarre, nearly impossible 100-mile race for its sheer thrill

‘I only regret you could not have suffered longer.’

One of the most storied and difficult 100-mile races in the world, the Barkley 100 takes place every March or April in the rugged terrain of Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park. Daunting not just for its distance, the course features five craggy, shin-battering 20-mile loops run by 40 endurance athletes over 60 hours – rain or shine. (There is also a 60-mile version known as a ‘fun run’). The event features many humorous quirks thought up by its creator, Gary Cantrell (aka ‘Lazarus Lake’), who kicks off the competition with a ceremonial cigarette-lighting. But the race is no joke – many years, there isn’t even a single finisher. Interwoven with Cantrell’s idiosyncratic musings on sport and physical striving, Barkley 100 follows the gutsy runners in the 2014 ultramarathon as they chase the ‘extremes of joy’ that ‘you only get when failure was probable’.

Director: Brendan Young

13 October 2016

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