Top 10 Activities to Pursue While Waiting on Barkley Updates
10. Go for a run. Run a 1/2 marathon, marathon, 50K or even a fifty miler. Specators are only allowed in one or two locations, so we won’t have word of the runners until they return to camp. The fastest runners, who successfully stay on the course, could be back in 7 to 9 hours. Others will return much later, maybe within the twelve hour cutoff, maybe much longer.
9. Listen to Elevation Trail interview Laz (the Race Director) MP3 File lost.
The Barkley Marathons is a long standing race in the hills of Eastern Tennessee. It is legend in the ultrarunning community. Many non-runners (and runners) cannot even comprehend why someone would want to attempt the Barkley.
The idea for the Barkley came about when James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr escaped from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. He was able to cover 8 or 9 miles in 54 hours. Gary Cantrell, the Race Director of The Barkley, was interested in seeing the terrain that was so difficult to run on. He found out for himself, and thought this would be the perfect spot for a race.
The course is unmarked. You must use your map and compass and printed instructions to maneuver around Frozen Head State Park. There is no aid, you carry all your own food. The cutoffs for the 100 mile race are 12 hours per loop. The 60 mile “Fun Run” has a cutoff of 40 hours. To prove you have been around “the loop” you must find and tear a page out of books-from 9-11 books that corresponds to your bib number.
Runners have 59000 feet of ascent and 59000 feet of descent through these 100 miles. It’s been rumored that a climb added in 2014 more elevation, it’s more like 62,000 elevation.
The race takes place the weekend closest to April Fools Day. To date, there have been 17 finishers since the race began in 1986. Many years there have been no finishers, hence one of the popular slogans about the Barkley “The Race that Eats it Young”.
No female has ever finished the Barkley.
There has only been a few women even complete the “Fun Run” in the allotted 40 hours. Until Beverly Anderson Abs completed the Fun Run in 2013, it had been eleven years since a female finished the 3 Loops-Sue Johnson in 2001.
The starting list of The Barkley is also not published. Runners may “out” themselves and let it be known that they are training for the Barkley. You hear murmurings around the interweb and words of entrants from friends.
Although not confirmed, I am hoping I know of at least two women who have a chance to finish the Fun Run, or dare I say it..more than that. If these two women are in the race this year, it could be the strongest female contingents in a long time.
There is no chip timing and no tracking of athletes at the Barkley. With the advent of cell phone technology, Twitter has helped let the outside world what is happening to the runners “out there”. Sometimes, in keeping with the eccentricity of the Barkley, the information being disseminated is more misinformation that real beta. One hashtag, to follow along, isn #BM100.
When to start following this? Who knows. Another endearing trait of the race start is that it fluctuates and is not known in advance. A conch shell will be blown, between 12.01 and 11.59 am on March 28 this year. The race will start one hour after the conch shell blows.
Will a female finish The Barkley this year? Will anyone finish The Barkley this year? We won’t know until Monday morning, March 30.
March is Blood Clot/DVT Awareness Month which is why I now try and time my blog post with this month.
Athletes do not normally think about their health in terms of developing a blood clot. I know of at least six runners in the last six years who developed blood clots. A casual Google search mentions 3 NBA players, hockey players, MLB players, tennis pro Serena Williams have reported in the news of developing DVT’s.
Runners, with our low blood pressure and heart rate, and talent of dehydration, pushing ourselves, and then trying to travel home as quickly as possible, are actually at risk for a DVT aka blood clot.
Please take a minute to drop in, read and comment on my Blogher post!
I never posted a Buzzard’s Day 50K Race Report because I did not finish the race. As I finished up the 5th loop, my phone rang, it was my father telling me my sister was worse and I needed to go to the hospital.
Carmen had a heart attack a few years ago, this was probably the beginning of her health issues. In the last two years, she found out she had liver disease. In November, she went through the three days of testing required for a liver transplant.
In February, she fell twice and rhabdomyolysis occurred, which sent her to the ICU in the Cleveland Clinic. That further taxed her liver. She recovered a bit from the rhabdo, and was placed on the liver transplant list.
Her condition did not improve, and renal failure occured with the liver failure. She was removed from the transplant list. The family made the decision on Wednesday to remove life support and she passed away Wednesday.
I’m still not sure if I have processed this all yet. Although I saw it all happen, it’s hard to believe my sister is gone.
Not sure what else to say. I did want to mention it on my blog, as I do share most of what I am up to here.
Or, alternatively put, “how to stay flexible” for a trail run.
The first “revised” course: March 4 The new out and back course has been approved by the Manager of Hinckley Reservation. There will be only two aid stations. My estimate is 45% up, 45% down, and 10% flat. There is about 2 miles of road per loop, and one paved trail mile per 7.76 mile loop. You will get wet feet only twice per loop.
The second “revision”, March 11:
“I spent some time looking at the course today. We might looking for a plan “C”. The stream crossing is over three feet deep and 25 feet across. The water is flowing very fast and there is an ice jam downstream adding to the mix. There is rain in the forecast Friday and Saturday. That, added to the almost foot of snow on the ground indicates the water will continue to rise. I will be working on a 5.2 mile loop course for “Plan C” in the AM. If the water continues to rise (I’m almost certain it will) we will be doing away with Redwing and moving all aid to Ledge Rock Café. No matter what, It will be a party and we will make the beat of what nature throws at us!”
The final course (as I type this Friday afternoon):” It is now official…gulp…plan “C” the 5.2 mile loop will be the official course. “
These are the communications from Roy Heger, Race Director, has been updating updating us runners and creating new courses on the fly as Mother Nature dictates.
The race went from a loop, to a 15 mile out and back, and now a 5.1 mile loop.
I have no idea what this course will look like.
And it doesn’t matter.
You have to hang loose for trail races. Ultras and trail races tend not to get cancelled due to inclement weather. Courses sometimes have to change, so runners need to be able to adapt and change along with it.
It should be helpful for most runners that this is a way early race in the season and pretty much all the Buckeyes have been stuck in ice and snow for all February and into March. I wasn’t looking at a PR before the course change, and actually think this is going to be a real slow race for me.
So that’s all good. 31 miles on the feet, with wet feet-good Hardrock training-and test out a few pieces of equipment. I’ll have a race report on Sunday!
I have blogged about DVT Awareness since 2009, where two of my runner friends developed blood clots.
I’ve blogged on this topic before, due to several runner friends developing these. Some of them went as far as pulmonary embolism. All my friends were lucky, they have recovered and are back to running.
Excerpt from that blog post:
Yes, I want to scare you. A bit. OR actually, I just want you to be aware.
You think of blood clots in ..old people. You don’t think about ultra runners, or triathletes, being the ones who who develop these blood clots.
Yet we are prime candidates for these.
Okay, Athletes tend to have a lower resting heart rate. This results in blood flowing slower through the body.
Dehydration-this plays a factor in your blood viscosity. More dehydration leads to thicker blood.
Falls, bruises? Nah, this never happens in an ultra. (Non runners would call this “trauma”) Ultra runners? Well, we took a face plant eight hours ago. No big deal, right? I got a little banged up. Got some bruises on my quads, knee, arm. No big deal. That huge bruise on my quad? That’s no thang.
Due to this trauma, there may be a clot forming at the spot in the cell wall. This is your body functioning normally.
After the race is over, we get into our car, or onto an airplane, and travel hours back to where we came from. We spend hours in a cramped position.
Meanwhile, the thickened blood is pooling.The body is still dehydrated. The body is forced into the worst position to get the blood pumping throughout the body again. This is where the start of a clot in the legs (in the deep veins) can begin.
Fast Forward from 2009, to 2015, where the internet social media and web speed has advanced. There are now many new resources.
BUT YOU RUNNERS STILL NEED TO RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS.
Swelling, usually in your leg (can also occur in your arm especially in weight-lifters, gymnasts, rowers, etc.)
Leg (or arm) pain or tenderness, usually described as a cramp or Charley horse
Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
Leg warm to touch
Pulmonary Embolism – PE
Sudden shortness of breath
Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
Rapid heart rate
Fainting or passing out
Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus
There is also a private group on Facebook called Running After a Pulmonary Embolism: A group for runners who have been stricken by a pulmonary embolism, but have gotten back to running. (Maybe the group motto should be “Running: It’s In Our Blood!”)
Please be careful and be aware of these symptoms. Rehydrate after your run/race. Get up and move in the airplane or make more than one rest stop in the car after your ultra. DVT’s can happen to athletes!!
My husband and I were in town for our annual Cincinnati Wine Festival weekend. This year there was just a five mile run on the schedule. I always look forward from a run from the hotel to the Serpentine Wall, to Sawyer Point and the Flying Pigs. I went to college in Cincinnati and enjoy my downtown run every year.
This year Cincinnati had gotten a few snow weather days and there was still plenty of snow on the ground. The Ohio River was rising!
I started from First Watch, where we had breakfast before I headed out on the run. I ran by the Great American Ballpark. I have yet to take in a Reds game at this stadium!
I then went down the River, wandered around for a bit, had to take a picture of my Flying Pigs: then took the Purple People Bridge over to Kentucky. I didn’t stay long in Kentucky just touched soil in another state and headed back.
I’ve always loved the Cincinnati Sky Line.
Getting back into Cinti, my mileage was only about four miles so I headed north a few blocks from Fountain Square. I took a left at Garfield Suites and found myself at a tiny little park with the BIG statue of President Garfield:
Eight presidents so far were from Ohio. The statue of President Garfield is also at the entrance of a tiny skinny park called Piatt Park. It is two blocks long and the oldest park in Cincinnnati.
I love finding little things like this as a runner. Just taking a different street led to a nice little park, I learned something new about the city and was able to savour new views that I wasn’t aware of before being a runner.
At the other end of the park is an equestrian statue of William Henry Harrison, the first president from Ohio.
It was then just two or three blocks back to the hotel. It was a fabulous run. Not only was it my first outside run in over a week, it was also about thirty degrees out. Had the husband not been waiting for me I would have doubled the mileage. It was a much needed run for me!