Barkley Marathons Go to the Extreme

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Barkely Marathons

The Barkley Marathons aren’t your average race. Held each spring at Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg, this intense, 100-mile ultramarathon is designed for experienced athletes.

Founded by Gary Cantrell of Bell Buckle, the Barkley features 59,100 feet of climbing and mentally challenging obstacles designed to cause participants to fail. The race takes place every April, but no date is published. Only 35 entrants are accepted, chosen from a large pool of applicants. The ultramarathon, which refers to any running event longer than a normal marathon, is an extremely challenging feat. In fact, only 14 people have ever finished the Barkley. For more information, visit

Barkely Marathons

Cantrell also founded the Strolling Jim 40-miler in Wartrace, which takes place each May, and the Last Annual Vol State 314-miler in July. The Strolling Jim is the second-oldest ultramarathon in the U.S., and though still a challenge, it’s not nearly as intense as the Barkley and accepts registrants through a sign up at

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