Only 14 people have finished the infamous Barkley Marathon. It’s a mungrel event, designed specifically for people who want an almost unachievable challenge.
This weekend Michael Wardian will head to Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee and try to become the 15th finisher. To succeed in this mission, Mike will have to complete five, 20mile loops of the course in under 60 hours.
A lot of unusual things make Barkley iconic including its start time, which is anywhere from midnight to noon on race day, with one hour till the race start being signaled by blowing a conch. Then the race officially begins when a cigarette is lit by the race director.
In addition to ‘running’ through the briar covered course, competitors must find between nine and eleven books along the course (the exact number varies each year) and remove the page corresponding to the runner’s race number from each book as proof of completion. Competitors get a new race number, and thus a new page requirement, at the start of each lap.
Before Mike sets off, when ever that is… we caugh up for a quick insight to his mission towards being Mr. 15 at Barkley.
Why did you choose to do Barkley?
How did you prepare for it?
MRW: I ran a lot of miles to prepare for it but also I did a ton of hiking steep climbs.