July 22nd, 2017
What Ever Happened To [...] #1007
Friday April 6th, 2012
[Having returned from Tennessee and, of course, "That Event" which took place over the past 3-day weekend, I've been convalescing in my shellshock ever since. I have struggled mightily to understand the phenomenon, but have ultimately given up in despair of ever unraveling the "mystery"; and so I now give you this, as follows, which is to serve both as fair warning and good reason to turn to Zen. There is, after all, no sound possible coming from the mouth of a Barkley runner screaming.]
The Reagan Administraction Presents...
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO [The "Unfinishable" Barkleys] ?
Yes, back in the day and for years and years and YEARS, no earthling on that Tennessee earth was ever quite able to finish 100 miles. In fact, it took three years before any human could manage 3/5ths of that total. Right. So...
What ever happened to *that* stuff?
The Barkley Marathons (plural, note, because there always have been more than one to be run consecutively) were "inspired," I suppose, by one tremendously notorious DNF: that perpetrated by one James Earl Ray, who in 1977 escaped the "maximum" (?) security prison there and fled for his life into these very same mountainous woods where the current event is annually held. We believe Mr. Ray--who, if anyone had reason to be successful, HE did--traveled all of about 5 or 8 miles in 54 or 56 total hours (even our beliefs disagree) before he was recaptured. Whatever happened to Ray?
[No secret there. He died in prison.]
So the whole idea stemmed from how TOUGH such mountainous woods must surely be if an escaped con could only run a few miles in them--unable to get out!--in well over two days' time. Ah ha! And bingo! What a perfect place to hold a footrace *expecting* runners to make 100 miles in two-and-a-half days' time!
And the idea worked...for years! Although most (not all, yours troubly included) runners *did* do better than Ray did, absolutely none of 'em could make it 95 miles farther. From raceday One in 1986 (yes, during Ronald Ray-gun's time in office) until raceday Nine in 1994 (Prezdit Cluntun's tahm) NO ONE ever made the full 100 miles.
What EVER happened ta doze daze?
Then, the impossible happened. For race Ten, some dingleberry from ye merry ole Land of Eng(land) just forgot to stop...and did indeed complete the full race. We'd be tempted to say THAT, therefore, opened the mythical floodgates and thereafter hundreds would go on to do it.
Not so. Whatever happened to those mythical hundreds?
Apparently they were thinning themselves, culling the herd, and queuing up for the next century. In wondrous efforts to make the *course* harder and ever-harder and more and more difficult, the race director himself (self-appelled as the "Idiot"--don't ask us why) failed to do it, and in 2001 (the very dawn of the third millennium) TWO runners actually managed to get to the finish line. But none thereafter...until 2003, then 2004, then 2008, and then Pandora's Box lid blew off. There've been finishers every year since. And in 2012 THERE WERE THREE!!!
What the heck happened during all those intervening years? Apparently, da nada. Except of course the ever-continuing wickedness of the "Idiot." But what happened to the effectiveness of his evil?
Why can't the "no finishers syndrome" simply continue? The *course* is harder! Now runners are expected to traverse two counties, cross a highway twice, climb and re-climb more ugly hills than old James Earl could ever see from his cell, AND lately--upon the official closing of that selfsame prison--NOW runners are expected to actually go there during the race, slog through the sludge of the sewer underneath, AND then climb that very wall that Ray went over!
What in the *F* is up with THAT? Can't even razor wire stop this onslaught of finishers?
What in the name of all that is holy (and the Tennessee Department of Corrections) is somehow enabling MORE runners to do 100 miles rather than LESS?
We miss those days when the whole camp could break camp early and return to our wives (husbands too, ladies, we're not forgetting your failures either :) and SO's and children and relatives we went camping in the first place to get away from.... In all those happy years of nobody finishing, we were marginally less sad. But now?
Now, year after year and no matter what the "Idiot" throws at those that line up to start, we are all having to pay more in camping fees because ain't none of us gettin' otta there early.
But here's one thing our beloved, though idiotic, race director CAN do for the rest of us: feed us more Barkley chicken! Gosh knows us real chickens gotta refuel somehow.
( O_O )
"your somewhat annual 'Volunteer State' park visitor for nearly 800 years, who is actually rather appreciative of the 'real' originator/sponsor of this *event*--not Ray, but that 'scruffy unkempt Tennessee chicken farmer named Barry Barkley'"
Yankee Folly of the Day:
On the evilest mountain/jungle course yet, we get three finishers. At this rate, future evolutions of impossibility will doubtless produce so many finishers that chutes will have to be set up, there should be a big clock and chip timing, and volunteer Yankees will need to pull tags off bib numbers and string them on coat hangers (as a back-up).
April 9th, 2012 12:11 pm
July 21st, 2017 7:20 pm
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