The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young, a film by Annika Iltis & Timothy James Kane 


I hadn’t heard of this film until it popped up on my Netflix queue and I am so glad that it did. The filmmakers take us back to the epic journey of those racing in the 2012 Barkley Marathons.

Up until this point, there had only been 10 finishers of the 100 mile race since it’s conception in 1986. Gary Cantrell, former ultra-marathon runner and creator of the Barkley Marathons, has been driven by challenges his entire life. With his love of chasing the limit and an inspiration from James Early Ray’s prison escape into the woods of what is now part of the race route, the birth of the Barkley Marathons began.

With Gary’s help and all those participating in the 2012 race, we are able to join in the hellish, but heroic journey of 35 runners over the course of 60 hours.

Although I’ve only become a runner in the last few years and have fallen in love with the sport, I couldn’t imagine attempting something as profound as the Barkley Marathons. Watching the runners as they proceed on the course and hearing their thoughts along the way was very inspirational. Gary says, “…people that go through this, they are better for it. They’re not made of better stuff than other people, but they’re better for what they have asked of themselves.”

This is film that motivates, encourages, and awakens the desire to challenge ourselves to be our best person.




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