Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Unbelievable Barkley Marathons

Naomi Tetherly photo

Currently working on a children’s book, Naomi Tetherly serves as a teacher at East Longmeadow Public Schools in Massachusetts and is licensed to work as a principal and vice principal in the state. A holder of a master’s degree in school administration, Naomi Tetherly is an avid runner and enjoys cross-country and trail running.

For many passionate runners, participating in the Barkley Marathons is on their bucket list, but even applying for entry to the race is shrouded in mystery. Its creator and race director, Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell was inspired to stage the event after learning that Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, James Earl Ray, was once caught only 8 miles from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary after having escaped 54 hours earlier. A portion of the race passes through the now closed prison. 

First held in 1986, the annual 100 mile (some say it's more) ultra trail marathon involves finishing five 20-mile loops through the punishing, fog-filled terrain of Tennessee's Frozen Head State Park, with a race cut-off time of 60 hours. It has over 60,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain, more than twice the height of Mt. Everest. Only 35-40 runners are allowed to participate each year, and only 15 runners out of about 1,000 have finished the race within the prescribed cutoff. In the March 2018 edition, like in so many other years, not a single participant finished the race.

No comments:

Post a Comment