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Drop #9: It’s Barkley Time

It’s time!!

OMG. Cannot be more excited.

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows! But it is any day now!

Laz knows. Only he. And the 40 who are racing. 

But only Laz knows the exact time. When the conch is blown. 2.31am? 5.03am? 

And then one hour to go. 

Before Laz lights his cigarette. And off they go.


Ok so I will stay calm for a minute. 

And I will explain Barkley.

It’s a 60 hour race. Over approx 100 miles. In Tennessee. 20,000 metres of elevation. Off trail. Off path. Off kilter. Off grid. Off everything.

No GPS. No markers.

Only books. Books hidden in the forest. That’s how it works.

Each loop is 20 miles ish. On the way round there are 13 books. When you find a book you have to rip the page out of the book and bring it back to Laz, at the end of the loop.

60 hours. 5 loops. Average of 12 hours per loop. 12 hours for 20 miles. Easy? Right? Nah.

Less than half of the 40 starters finish the first loop. 3 loops is a fun run. Approx 3 or 4 people make it that far. Normally no one finishes.

In total, since the race started, in the 1990’s, only 17 people have finished.

17. That’s it. It’s got a tougher success rate than Everest or K2.

When a race says “toughest on the Planet”. It isn’t . This is. Full stop.

There is no live stream. No video. Only the occasional cryptic Twitter update from Keith Dunn. Follow him. Not Mr. Beast. 

Yes! It is more exciting than Mr. Beast. Waiting for a random tweet to see who has dropped out! Who is done. Who has been Lazzed.

3 years ago the great Karel Sabbe, was found staring into a rubbish bin, by a local sheriff, in a far away town, and brought back to Laz. He was Lazzed. 

This year John Kelly goes for his third finish. That’s all we know. Who else is there? Don’t know.

But any day now. 40 of the most epic adventurers will head into the woods. 

They will all come out. Almost all broken. But broken with joy. With spirit. With stories that last.

And when they think of Barkley, they will think of the Yellow Gate. A simple Yellow Gate. That is the start, finish, middle and mirror of this race. Touch the yellow gate five times, you are a super human. No you are beyond human. You are. Well. You are one of only 17 humans on earth who have completed that feat. Imagine that. One of 17. 

Make it 18. Laz. He’s an honorary member.

OK. Lets stop this nonsense,  and stare at twitter for the tweet that it starts!

Any minute now.


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