The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In its first 25 years only 10 people have finished The Barkley Marathons. Based on a historic prison escape, this cult like race tempts people from around the world to test their limits of physical and mental endurance in this documentary that contemplates the value of pain.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A tiny town in Tennessee is the most unlikely of places you would expect to find the hardest trail race in the world. The Barkley Marathons only accepts 35 runners each year, via secret application process, and was created by cocky ultrarunner Lazarus Lake, as a mockery of a famously failed 1977 prison escape that lasted 54 hours. On this ever-changing and unmarked course participants battle through treacherous terrain to find hidden books as proof of following the route. If they make it to the end, they will have climbed and descended twice the height of Mount Everest, in under 60 hours.

    Brett Maune, a past finisher, has his sights on making history. John Fegyveresi, an unknown runner who winters in Antarctica, wants to outrun his past. One hopes to break a record, the other to just get back alive, and everyone gets lost.

    What follows is an oddly inspiring story where pain has value, failure is spectacular, and it only costs $1.60.

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