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Sunday
Mar182012

I thought it would be the hardest thing I ever did. It was much worse than that.

 Just some things to post before I forget.

 Taster video from ateam who are going to be covering the event

 

My Licence plate (on it's way)

 

Absolutely F****G terryifying videos of Charlie Engels attempt a few years back.

Link to Runners World

 

Race Report from Laz the Race Director

progress has its disadvantages.
there was a day when the barkley runner need go no further than the trailhead to get out of the comfort zone.

you all know about the comfort zone.
that's where most ultras take place.
running ultras is all about staying in the comfort zone.
all our strategies revolve around staying in the comfort zone.
all our advice is about staying in the comfort zone;

"start slow"

"walk every uphill"

"dont take any chances"

for all the talk about exploring human potential, and seeking our limits, ultrarunners tend to play it safe.
they line up "challenges" they know they can finish.
and run them carefully
well within their "limits".
we believe that success is never failing.

at the barkley success is about over-reaching our abilities,
and living to tell about it.
sometimes success is getting your ass out alive.

some people "get" the barkley. some dont.
but the barkley is all about leaving the comfort zone.
the barkley is about taking our chances with failure.
true success is not the absence of failure,
it is the refusal to surrender.

these days the vandals have cleared so much trail,
and the veterans are so numerous,
the advice so plentiful and sound,
it is sad, but one can go to the barkley
and never leave that comfort zone.

we had our winners and losers last weekend.
the most obvious winner was JB.
you dont finish the barker by living in the comfort zone.
you play that baby in the twighlight zone.
you have to go too fast
(you might blow up)
you have to get too little rest
(you may break down)
and you have to start laps you might not finish
(with or without making mistakes).

but you dont have to finish the barkley
to have "gotten it".
lots of people got it.
those people started loops they couldnt finish.
they ran out of time.
they got lost.
they tried to do something beyond their abilities
and they did not succeed.

but they were not defeated.
just knocked down.
(maybe fed a dose of humility)
they explored the twighlight zone and came back winners.
they got their ass in and then got it back out alive.

some people didnt "get it".
they ran carefully within their abilities.
they clung like glad wrap to the veterans
and never opened their map with doubt in their mind
(and fear in their hearts).
they stopped in camp
never starting that loop that could end up in hell.
or turned back before entering that section
they might not complete.

they were not exactly defeated.
they just gave up.
surrounded by the opportunity to stretch & grow
to explore the "out there"
they were afraid (in the end) to venture out of the comfort zone
and into the twighlight zone.

i was never a particularly talented ultrarunner.
i was not fast.
i was not tough.
still i am proud of having achieved sub-24
at ultra-running's bellweather 100 mile distance.

i am prouder to have tried for sub-20...
and fallen short.
running 80 miles at sub-20 pace and then blowing up
felt a lot more honorable
than running carefully and breaking 24.
i learned more about myself.
and grew more as an athlete and a person.

you dont have to go to barkley to "get it".
"it" is nothing more than putting something on the line
taking a chance
and trying to do something you do not know for certain you can do.

there is no success
if failure is not in the mix.

and this is why the "sick-o's" keep applying and re-applying at barkley. this is why there are so many requests for so few slots. this is why those lucky 35 strap it on and march into a hellish ordeal with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. because we are never so alive as when we put it all on the line. and at barkley the only guarantee is that you will be pushed beyond your limits. everything is on the line.

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Reader Comments (1)

The point about playing it safe in ultras is a good one. My guess is most people like to hit a target (sub 24h 100 miler ; sub 3 mile marathon etc) but once they've done that maybe it's better to go all out on future runs to see really where the limit is.

Good luck with Barkley - but since you finished the TP100 shouldn't be too much harder! :-)

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Thatcher

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