Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quoted: The Barkley Marathons

Figuring out how to enter the race is an achievement in itself.

 “There is no Web site, and I don’t publish the race date or explain how to enter,” said Cantrell, an accomplished ultrarunner who has never come close to completing his own race. “Anything that makes it more mentally stressful for the runners is good.”

(The start of the race involves a curious tradition in which participants try to refrain from letting Cantrell see them run. They will walk the first few hundred meters, until they turn a bend and begin running once they are out of his sight.)

Because so few participants are allowed, the details of how to apply are a closely guarded secret. The first step is to figure out where and when to send a required essay on why one should be allowed to compete.

“If you send it in five minutes early, he’ll delete it,” said Beverly Abbs, a 48-year-old environmental scientist from Red Bluff, Calif., who completed three loops in last year’s race. “We had to send the application at midnight on Christmas Day in Gary’s time zone, and you have to figure out which one it is on your own.”
From The Barkley Marathons: Few Know How to Enter, Fewer Finish in The New York Times

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