The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

Release Date



  • Annika Iltis
  • Timothy James Kane

A documentary revealing the sports world’s most guarded secret: a cult-like race, inspired by a famous prison escape, that has seen only 10 finishers in its first 25 years.

A tiny town in Tennessee is the most unlikely of places you would expect to find the hardest trail race in the world. The Barkley Marathons only accepts 35 runners each year, via secret application process, and was created by cocky ultrarunner Lazarus Lake, as a mockery of a famously failed 1977 prison escape that lasted 54 hours. On this ever-changing and unmarked course, participants battle through treacherous terrain to find hidden books as proof of following the route. If they make it to the end, they will have climbed and descended twice the height of Mount Everest, in under 60 hours.

Brett Maune, a past finisher, has his sights on making history. John Fegyveresi, an unknown runner who winters in Antarctica, wants to outrun his past. One hopes to break a record, the other to just get back alive, and everyone gets lost.

What follows is an oddly inspiring story where pain has value, failure is spectacular, and it only costs $1.60.

Past Programs


Insects and graceful exits

Athens Ciné, Athens, GA