Would you be interested in participating in an athletic event that’s been held annually for almost 30 years, attempted about 1200 times, and finished by only 10 people? It’s a race so punishing that most people quit before they’re even a fifth of the way through the course. “No,” would be the honest and sane answer. “Who on Earth would do such a thing?” You’d be right to answer that way, and not many people would fault you for doing so.
The documentary The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young is about the few brave souls who gladly, and in many cases repeatedly, answer “Yes!” The film examines the event’s history and the athletes participating in the 2012 race, including their personal philosophies about life and what compels them to sign up for such a grueling few days. We then seamlessly transition into a competition documentary, to watch and wait for who – if anyone – will be able to complete the 60 hour, 100+ mile trial by misery.