The Barkley Marathons Movie

What inspires you? Last winter I watched a movie that inspired me to dream bigger than I ever had before. For most people “The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats It’s Young” probably seems like a quirky little documentary about some truly amazing and somewhat crazy runners. For me though it was a pure dream maker.

The movie itself is about an annual event held in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, not far from where I live. The Barkley Marathons is an almost mythical run, without crowds, without support, somewhere between 100 and 129 miles of constant climbs and descents equaling 120,000 feet. The brainchild of Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell, it is regarded as one of the toughest races anywhere. For me it was eye opening. If these people could try, and sometimes succeed, in such an outrageous run, then what can someone much more average like me do?

I watched it over and over, showing it to others and telling everyone to watch it. Opinions were split. Some, like Daniel, were like me and dreams were born. Some thought that the runners were absolutely crazy and wondered why they would even try (Sophia) while a few (Ladonna) just thought “Laz” was a sadistic man.

It was the beginning of the thought. Could I do more than a marathon? Could I make it to 50 K? 50 miles? Did I dare to dream for more? A 100 K or 100 miles? Just how far could a chubby middle aged guy with no experience and no way to get formal training push? That my friends is inspiration.

It was the start of what became Lilyan’s Run. 104.8 miles (that actually became 105.1). I can’t believe that just a few short months ago I watched the Barkley movie for the first time and now I have run from Kingsport to Knoxville, shared a glimpse of Lilyan with everyone and raised some pretty good money for an awesome cause.