Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How I didn't get into the Barkley Marathon, and what I learned.

Following the Rules:
Just to get your name considered for the Barkley Marathon you need to know the secret hand shake, bat signal and location of the safety deposit box to submit your 4-page race application along with your blood and hair sample. Once you have that part down, it’s up to pure luck. When a race only allows 35 runners, your chances of getting in are slim to none. Each year “Lazarus Lake” reviews the hoards of entries (on a secret night) and places 35 runners on to the List. The next 35 get added to the “weight list”. This year, my first year entering, I made it on to the weight list. Only one “virgin” is allowed into the top 35 slots and this year my cards just were not stacked properly.
Over the course of the last two months however, I moved up 21 slots on the weight list… YIKES! So, following the rules, playing the “man’s” game and doing what you’re told, can in fact get you ahead every once in a while. A lot of people have asked me how did I get my name so far up on the list?

Answer: I listened
I didn’t get my name on the “weight list” by my self and that IS THE TRUTH. A lot of people helped me but at the same time a lot of people lied to me (a LOT of people). With a race size of 35, most people do not want you to know how to get in because you could in fact be taking their spot. So, before you ask anyone to help you “get in the Barkley” ask yourself one simple question… do you trust this person?!?!
The help I did get was VITAL to my “almost success” at getting into Barkley this year and without it I would not as miserable as I am today as I watch more and more names fall off the “weight list”. I’m not going to name the folks that were key to getting me this far this year, but you ALL know who you are and your help means more than you could ever imagine!

One day (after I run the race) I’ll help someone else get to this point, but until I see my name in the top 35… consider EVERYTHING I tell you about the Barkley one big lie!


Being signed up for an Ultra that you know you are running AND you know the distance you are training for AND you when you know the course, that’s easy. On the other hand, being on a “weight list” and not knowing if you might be running in a few weeks is nerve-racking.
With an Ultra looming out there that you may or may not run, it kind of keeps you on your toes and forces you to training like you’ve never trained before. I was injured for almost all of last year and was unable to training for most of the summer. This year, I rebounded quickly after my last 100+ mile 24 Hour event and kept that base rolling through today.
Living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina does not leave a lot of options for elevation training outside of a day spent running back and forth over a bridge, so I will typically push miles and mix in a lot of speed and core work. Over the course of the next year (as I work towards the 2014 Barkley since my hopes of a 2013 race continue to look bleak) I will plan my race schedule accordingly to ensure the time I spend on my legs are filled with enough elevation to get me up and down those East Tennessee mountains.
So, I was not one of only 35 people to get into a single event the FIRST year that I tried to get in. But I did find myself on front end of a very long “weight list” which has made me more determined to be race ready for when the time comes. The words or Eminem, yes the rapper, come to mind:
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment. Would you capture it or just let it Slip? Yo”.
Those words have been muttered by higher intellectuals throughout the years, but you can’t argue that the back-beat that comes with his message doesn’t drive the point home! In running as in life, if we are willing to work hard enough to get there, why would we not be willing to be ready to take the bull by the horns. Not getting into the Barkley has energize my training and brought me out of a huge injury-driven-slump with new found energy and determination. When my opportunity comes around and I see that cigarette light, I’ll be ready and you can count on that!

(Seeing your name on the Barkley Marathon "weight list" brings all kinds of emotions)

Anyone interested in not getting on the list for next year, please email me directly and I will be sure to tell you exactly how not to get on it, or maybe I'll tell you exactly how too. Guess it'll just depend on how much I like you and how much you think you can trust me. Either way good luck!


  1. Tim making it onto the list is a hint at your level of "oomph". You are a rock star!

    1. Thanks man! Making it to this point was awesome!!!!

    2. As your mother it is my right to worry. As your mother it is my desire you be happy. So both of those in mind good luck, I hope you don't get in !!!!! Love you.

    3. Thanks Munchie! I wouldn't have it any other way!

  2. PS this is actually pretty crazy, but cool :-)

  3. I want to volunteer at the race. Any idea how this can be possible?

  4. So I'm asking. Because I'm listening. Can you tell me how I can apply? Thanks,molkat.