Nov 6, 2020
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The Barkley Marathons is regarded as one of the toughest endurance races on the planet. Why do I call it The Failure Olympics, and why does it offer a counterintuituve escape from failure?
Assuming you even get a place in this race, you are almost certainly guaranteed to not finish. However, the gift inherent in just participating is far more precious than the disappointment of the loss could ever be.
The Barkley Marathons is not only tough, but reaches levels of eccentricity previously attained only by English aristocrats such as Screaming Lord Such. 5 marathons in 60 hours. The entry fee is less than a cup of coffee, but you must bring a personalised present for the organiser. The trails are not marked and the combined altitude of all 5 marathons equals that of Everest. Only 15 people in 30 years have ever actually finished it.
So why do it?
And what has this insane event got to teach is about recovering from binge eating and food compulsion? So much - that’s what. Even if - especially if - you’d rather cut your arm off than run a marathon, this episode is for you.
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