via Where Dreams Go To Die (2016-Apr-08) [A Mind Running Amuk]. A reminder that there is a deep tradition in this race that goes beyond that shown in the movie. It is apparent from this year’s Twitter stream that there is a clash of ‘what is’ and ‘what is expected’ versus a need for ‘entertainment’.
Barkley Self-Evident Truths – Henry Speir (@henryspeir)
#0 – You can’t learn if you listen with your mouth. (Mike Dobies)
#1 – You toe the line at the yellow gate with the training you have, not the training you wish you had.
#2 – Weather happens – the successful Barker wastes little time and energy on this and instead focuses on aspects within his control.
#3 – There are two ways of quitting at the Barkley: Direct and Indirect – Direct is the aspiring Barker declaring, regardless of reason, that they are unwilling to continue; Indirect is the lack of will to move at an appropriate pace so as to not timeout.
#4 – Manage your calorie intake; the successful Barker will not allow himself to even go into “mico-famine” – if you are near the end of a loop and need to eat, do so, don’t wait to get in camp. attrib: Andrew Thompson
#5 – One cannot make it far at the Barkley without above average hubris. However, hubris is also one of the leading causes of a Barkley attempt being cut short. The successful Barker is aware of, and will manage this.
#6 – There is no “wishing” at Barkley – there is “vision” and the steadfast will to then realize that vision.
Thompson corollary: Once the switch is flipped, it can’t be unflipped.
#7 – Go at a pace comfortable for *you*. If you plan on going with someone else, you are going at their pace, at some point this will be too fast. attrib: David Horton
Corollary: The virgin would be wise to seek a vet that is otherwise likely to move at a slower natural pace than them
(see self-evident truths #8, #9 and #5).
#8 – The most important decision the Barkley virgin can make is which veteran they will try to follow. Choose wisely. See: Barkley self-evident truth #7.
#9 – The Barkley virgin is a parasite and any self-respecting veteran will attempt to “scrape”(drop) them at some point. See: Barkley self-evident truth #8.
#10 – You will vastly increase your chances at success if you know where you are and are able to pick out where you are on the map at all times; keep track as you progress and make a mental note as you get to each book or pass significant terrain features. At some point, you are likely to find yourself alone – see: Barkley self-evident truth #9
#11 – While “Out There”, the ephemeral “Barkley Friendship” can be very fleeting, but also very useful. The successful Barker will immediately recognize when it is no longer useful and move on with haste. (be mindful, however, of Barkley self-evident truth #5)
Corollary: The successful Barker will instantly spot the mopey, blue, dead-weight Barker and put distance between them
before he is infected with negative, self-justifying talk about quitting.
#12 – All other things being equal, during the nighttime, the successful Barker will leverage pairing or teamwork possibilities with those around him. Being mindful, of course, of Barkley self-evident truth #11.
Corollary: The Barkley virgin is much less likely to be scraped at night. See: Barkley self-evident truth #9
#13 – While “Out There”, the course is in command; between loops, YOU are in command. The successful Barker will visualize, plan and parsimoniously manage every minute between loops. What you do or fail to do here could be the beginning of the end of your Barkly outing.
#14 – If you haven’t spent much time with a USGS 7.5 min topo quad and can’t tell the difference between a draw and a spur, go back, re-read and double down on Barkley self-evident truth #8
#15 – Ultrarunners: Realize that all that trail running training and experience you have is only tangentially useful at being successful at the Barkley. Furthermore, some of the experience and habits you’ve gained in this pursuit can even be somewhat counterproductive at the Barkley. That is not to say that it’s not useful at all; it’s just not as useful in preparing you for the Barkley as you likely assume it to be. See: Barkley self-evident truth #1
Corollary 1: “Mudder/Death/ToughGuy” type running events and experience are even more useless.
Corollary 2: The best comprehensive Barkley training is during the event itself; if you are in, keep moving forward —
your next chance is at minimum a year, but more likely more than a year away!
#16 – Knowledge and understanding of the actual Barkley course and how to navigate around it is fundamental to success and goes without saying; however, equally as important and useful, but often overlooked, is the “big picture” of the park, its features and how they are all interconnected and how the Barkley course fits and flows within/around the park. (attrib: Jonathan Basham; also: laz, Furtaw, others)
#17 – Implicit in your desire to enter the Barkley and being granted entry into the event is your steadfast commitment to self-extract and make your way back to camp on your own power, accept under the most extreme of circumstances. If you had the energy and fortitude to get out there, then you should be able to get back on your own…without bothering the locals, and bringing shame and disgrace to yourself and the Barkley. (partial attrib: “Pit Viper” circa 2007; others before and since) See: Barkley self-evident truth #16 and #10
every barker has self-extracted.
no matter how long it took.
altho some have hitch hiked back from some damned remote locations!
there is a certain pride that no one has had to be found and retrieved over all these years.
the weight of all the barkers who have precdeeded you
and all the barkers who hope to follow
is on your shoulders.
you got yourself out there.
you must get yourself back.
#18 – Navigating around the Barkley course is no doubt a challenge. However, the primary driver for causing the once aspiring Barker to quit is the cumulative effect of the brutal climbs and descents. See: Barkley self-evident truth #3
#19 – The Barkley is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. (inspiration attrib: Winston Churchill)
#20 – The Barkley is the ultimate revealer of truth. Most will find out that they are not as tough as they hoped they would be (or as most perceive them to be); a select few will become legends. All will be grateful and better for the experience.