In 2013, Nick Hollon finished in 57:41 and Travis Wildeboer in 58:41. A new hill was added, "foolish stu", increasing the total climb to over 60,000 feet.
In 2014, Jared Campbell got his second finish in 57:50. Another new hill, Hiram's Vertical Smile, brings the total climb to 62,680 ft.
Otherwise previous finishers (total respect to them of course) would claim to do something that new participants cannot using the identical name of event/race. Which in fact is totally different race by now.
Marathon is not adding extra 10km every year to compensate for too many finishers.
Also, competitors are screened by totally different criteria than their previous ultra running successes: they have to write a letter to the organizer explaining why they should participate. Reasons can be something personal, not that they won Spartathlon in Greece in 2010.
There is a short documentary about the event available https://vimeo.com/97270099, and a full-length documentary making rounds at film festivals at the moment https://barkleymovie.wordpress.com/
I'm a trail runner and this isn't done, probably because conditions are always different year to year, so a modified route is just another misc change along with weather conditions which arguably would introduce more variance. Courses vary slightly all the time, due to trail conditions, environment and permit/access issues, plus minor rerouting around trail sections that are damaged or under repair, etc.
Western States, probably the most famous trail ultra, has had several minor route changes (due to fires, floods, snow, etc) in its history. They do not keep separate records for every variation of the route. Even Leadville rerouted the turnaround last year, which caused some confusion (including Krar technically going off course before regaining the route).
In the case of Barkley, the event is already pathologically designed so making it slightly tougher after each finisher is one of the quirks of the event. Nobody runs Barkley for time, just finishing is a huge deal (hence 14 or whatever finishers in 30 years). Heck, just completing the "fun run" (3 laps within the time limit) yields bragging rights, among trail runners at least. ;)
However, the orgranisers can alter its route. So technically, they could change the route accordingly.
It's no brainer to come up with unfinishable course to "test the limits".
Just add extra hill here and there, keep same time limit and call it a day with "mountains won!" statement.
Granted, this approach has it's own passionate followers and so it runs!
While I've no doubt this is a very difficult challenge, it seems contrived, and the comparisons to things like Everest are flippant. For one thing, you don't have to contend with the extreme weather of Everest, or the lack of oxygen, which you won't even get anywhere near because you never actually get anywhere near 8kft in altitude. Cross country hiking through brush? Yeah, I can do that; I avoid it when possible because that's not my idea of a good time and there are more interesting challenges.
Correct me if I misunderstand,they were building a race track that no one could beat by process of iteration?
Also, it's too bad humans don't have regenerative braking...
> wouldn't going up and down one foot for 60,000 times also count as "60,000 feet of total climb"
Yes. You try doing 60,000 step-ups and report back how easy that was.
The main issue I have with this "total climb" measurement is that it appears to depend on the "sampling frequency" - the closer together the points you sample the altitude of, the more rough the surface appears, and thus the more ups (and downs) to contribute to the measurement. It adds up, so the measurement isn't very meaningful without mentioning the sampling frequency used. Maximum altitude difference might be a bit better.
I'm not saying it's easy, but this...
/\ /\ /\
/ \/ \/ \
/ \ / \
/ \/ \
The highest resolution is 1 meter (but they don't have that data for the entire US).
The crappiness of GPS based total elevation gain is pretty well understood, so they probably wouldn't use that. So as long as they used data (or a topo map) instead of GPS, you can assume that the sampling frequency was not ridiculous (and it probably only includes gain that is apparent over something like 10 or 30 feet).
Maximum altitude difference has the same issue IMHO.
Maybe related to the [coastline paradox](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coastline_paradox)
(This is where we need a real physio / doctor / anatomist!)
I think races are counting from inflection point to inflection point or something. Still, its arbitrary.
Obviously it is difficult to give objective ratings to very different kinds of elevation gain. 10 meters of steps up to McDonalds are easier then 10meters of vertical concrete wall, we all know this.
It is quite obvious you have no experience with this.
Here are the r/ultramarathon threads on it this year:
"Fail is a strong word. I'm sure every one of the runners were successful in learning something about themselves. You fail by not trying."
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
I've been trying to convince a few ultra-marathoner friends to apply for the Barkley since I got out here, but they're all extremely hesitant. From everything I've read and gathered this race is just totally unlike what they're used to out West in terms of its general terrain (including plants, stepping off the trails in the spring and summer you can quickly get into quite vicious thorns, and the race isn't really on trails anyways as far as I know), and overall idiosyncratic nature. The weather down here can also be all over the place this time of year. I hiked Frozen Head in the high 50s/low 60s back in late January or early February; this past Sunday I was 2 hours south, in the Smokies, hiking in 5-6 inches of snow.
It's certainly a personal pie-in-the-sky feat to dream about before I move away in a few years, but realistically I'll just settle for an AT through hike instead (which should be far, far more manageable).
It's basically a land navigation race. The club I'm in, (http://mnoc.org), does courses that are usually 3km to 8km in length (there will be several to choose from).
The events are pretty minimalist compared to obstacle races like Warrior Dash, mud runs, ect. It's just you, a map, and a large chunk of woods.
I hike basically every weekend, but since most of that is in the Smokies I adhere to the trails. It would be nice to venture into some more self-guided routes. I have relatives up near the UP I visit once or twice a year, I'll definitely look into this the next time I'm near a more active orienteering community.
"Brian Robinson was the first person to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail (or the Hiker Triple Crown) in one year, a total distance of over 7,000 miles."
"In the years following the Calendar Triple Crown, Robinson became an active ultra-marathoner. He has completed several 100-mile races, including the Western States 100 and the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run. In 2008 he set the course record at the Barkley Marathons, a grueling 100 mile course in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee."
Jared Campbell has also, I believe, won Hardrock previously.
Also, the license plate is part of the entry fee. You have to bring him a plate to enter in the race.
Also, there are no trails, no markers, and the only aid station is the starting line which you pass 4 times during the race. You do have to stop and check in at various stations to verify that you actually did the course. IIRC, you had to pick up some kind of memento from the station. As someone mentioned, you're frequently going through brambles.
The entire idea of the race was based on James' Earl Ray's attempted escape. Cantrell was fascinated that a man on foot could make it only 8 miles in almost 60 hours, and that led to him starting the race.
Which means that the elevation and sleep deprivation must really take their toll. Those are the limiting factors, not running speed.
Ultra-marathon runners can do it in 20-45 hours. They carry little but gel packs/etc.
My brother and I hiked it a few years ago, carrying a tent, cooking gear, food, etc. It's a lot of up and down and even if the down doesn't exhaust you, it grinds your knees. Elevation gain is 9,600m (so 31,000 feet). We did it in 9 days, from memory. Could've done it more quickly or walked longer each day but we generally allowed time to select a secretive but flat camping spot (camping wild on the Italian side is somewhat illegal), cook, wash clothes in the river, etc.
The up hill bits definitely slow you down.
Afterwards, we said "Never again!" but I haven't stop thinking about it since and would go back for sure. Highly recommended. Stunning scenery and a great challenge.
Man, I take one of those naps every day and I'm not even running 100 miles. What's wrong with me.
I've heard Anton Krupicka (well known and achieve North American ultra racer) refer to the UTMB (the most well known ultra marathon race in Europe, in which a loop of Mt Blanc taking in 3 countries is done) as "unexpectedly flat"
Here's some footage of that race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St49BdhuA8c
I look at the course profile for that, and the course profile for the 4 1000m assents for the 75km race I'm doing in October and think "how do that many people finish".
The US has harder races, which still have remarkably high finishing rates. The "Hard Rock 100" (miles) is basically at times a rope-free scramble up mountain tops, and it has a remarkably high finishing rate (when we're talking more that 10% of the field finishing, it's remarkable)
It's quite amazing the variation among ultra races, and 100 miles is not just 100 miles.
The interesting thing is that many of the trail / mountain runners need that sort of variation for psychological reasons and find things like 100 mile tarmac races to be more psychologically and physically taxing. A mountain / trail race having highs and lows geologically, mentally, physically but a flat tarmac race having less variation being harder to switch out of a down patch, and requiring serious inner resilience to counter-act a "runners low".
Hardrock has a high finishing rate because each of the 140 starters has already completed a difficult 100 mile race and likely years of lottery attempts to get in (Krupicka finally got in this year). Most other 100 mile races in the States are easier to enter and so have a smaller finishing rate.
But while a healthy reasonably-trained adult has a solid chance of completing Hardrock simply by putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up, Barkley apparently needs something more. Of the three people I know who started, including one this year, none finished. If physical ability and tenacity were enough all three would have finished. It's that hard.
We tend to either 2 - 5km of sharp steep stuff, or maybe up to 15km of less sharp (like cat 3/4) climbs.
It's that sustained climbing at > 9% that will get ya.
Zoncolan is 10km at 11% but 8.5km at 15%.
Anyway, my point is that it should be possible to get the vertical metres in a trail run in Australia.
"completed the gruelling challenge in 37 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes, pedalling more than 377 kilometres a day ... On one occasion I rode right through the whole 24 hours and we got through 506 kilometres, "
You can read about Queensland Policeman, Dave Alley here ~ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-04/man-cycles-round-austr...
Nope, extreme terrain comes in many forms: distance, temperature, altitude. Aus is low altitude. We do have temperature and distance.
From the OP: I'm planning to compete in a 75km race with 4 1000 meter vertical assents in October. This is about as mountainous as you can get in Australia. This is a walk in the part compared to the races in Europe, New Zealand and North America.... I look at the course profile for that, and the course profile for the 4 1000m assents for the 75km race I'm doing in October
The whole point is that you don't need high altitude to get extreme elevation change in a race. I'm more familiar with cycling, but in that sport there are probably only about 4 or 5 rides in the world we can't match in terms of hill climbing, and those are either extremely long continuous climbs (eg, Haleakala, Alto de Letras; our longest is 30km) or 10km+ at extreme gradients (over 10%; Mount Zoncolan, Alto de L'Angliru; out longest is around 9km).
Generally you can make the race harder by looping it over steep terrain, just like the Barkley does.
I was hoping the OP could enlighten me as to why we don't have trail runs in Australia that are just as challenging.
It's be interesting to see Jornet try it sometime.
Technology stack we have set up at KiteBit is RoR + Unicorn + Redis + Postgres + Vagrant. And we make also make use of Sendgrid + AWS S3 + CloudFront + ElasticTranscoder.
Kilian's movies and other stuff from him are on sale at his website summitsofmylife.com. This is a PrestaShop store but when it comes to the downloads and video streaming it's KiteBit (our service) which takes the relieve.
The same race director puts on a much more finishable race - 314 miles, typically self supported, in the middle of summer, across the entire state of Tennessee:
It's on my list of runs to do.
If anything on your list includes something in Colorado (or Bighorn or Fat Dog this year) send me a note--pacing is sometimes more fun than racing. (Same goes for anyone else reading this).
Also, the whole thing thing is in backwoods on practically non-existent trails.
Just constantly driven.
I once was in Argentina and met some people who were going to climb Vincent Mastiff in Antarctica. The tallest peak in Antarctica. It cost them something like $25,000 a person to fly their group in. Basically you have to get someone willing to fly a perfectly good long range airplane and land it on a glacier in the middle of nowhere with no hope of rescue if you screw up.. and then you have to have it take back off and get you back to south america. Now that's adventure.
> The Iditarod Trail Invitational is the world's longest winter ultra marathon by mountain bike, foot and ski and follows the historic Iditarod Trail from Knik, Alaska over the Alaska Range to McGrath and to Nome in late February every year one week before the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The short race 350 miles finishes in the interior village of McGrath on the Kuskokwim River and the 1000 mile race finishes in Nome. Racers have to finish the 350 mile race in a previous year before they can enter the 1000 mile race.
(Information based on going as "handler" a couple of times many years ago for a friend, who got the buckle on her second try.)
The 1% figure doesn't add up with the rest of the data they provide
14/1100 = 0.0127…
My southern racism sense is tingling.