In the Spell of the Barkley: Unravelling the Mystery of the World's Toughest Ultramarathon (Paperback)

In the Spell of the Barkley: Unravelling the Mystery of the World's Toughest Ultramarathon By Michiel Panhuysen Cover Image
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One man's account of the near-mythical ultrarunning event that is the Barkley Marathons

Welcome to the Barkley Marathons, a fever dream of an ultra running event set deep in the Tennessee woods, inspired by James Earl Ray's prison break, heralded by a conch blast and paid for in cigarettes and socks. Since the race began in 1986, just 15 people have successfully crossed the finish line having completed the full 100 miles. This is a race in which competitors haul themselves up mountains, through extreme weather conditions, beyond pain and exhaustion, mile after mile. Completed 60 miles? That's just the fun run.

Journalist and ultrarunner Michiel Panhuysen is a multiple-time Barkley entrant, having fallen under the spell of this most enigmatic of races – and its presiding philosopher-genius organizer 'Lazarus Lake' – in the early 2010s. On each occasion, the Barkley won. The Barkley nearly always wins.

In the Spell of the Barkley is a story of sporting obsession, exploring what drives individuals to challenge themselves at the limits of what is possible – and what it takes to succeed.

About the Author

Michiel Panhuysen is a journalist, writer and ultra runner.

Praise For…

“A compelling account of one of the world's most enigmatic races, captured by an author fully in thrall” —Michael Crawley, author of Out of Thin Air

“The engrossing story of his fascination with, and multiple attempts to complete, the world's most difficult ultramarathon race ... highly recommend” —Frozen Ed Furtaw, the first person to finish the Barkley marathon

“A wonderful, compelling read” —Vassos Alexander

““This book probably won't turn you into an ultrarunner, but it's a fascinating peek into an extreme sport.”” —USA Today

Product Details
ISBN: 9781399411202
ISBN-10: 1399411209
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport
Publication Date: January 30th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English