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Imagine a race cutoff of 60 hours—don’t worry, we can’t either.
But at the elusive 100-mile Barkley Marathons, an insane ultra event comprising five 20-mile loops through a wooded park in Tennessee, this is the reality, along with 60,000 feet of elevation gain. Those who finish are few and far between—exactly 14 men have done so under the cutoff.
Gary Collins would have been the first Canadian to finish the feat, until he made a wrong turn and missed the cutoff by 6 seconds, tapping the finish line gate from the wrong side. Along the course, the participants ensure they followed the correct map by collecting pages along the way and presenting them at the finish line. The page requirement changes with each lap. Collins did have all his pages, despite the unfortunate mishap, and the video of his finish collapse from exhaustion is devastating, posted on Canadian Running’s Facebook page.
Although every runner’s heart wants him to slip in with an official finish, the rules are brutal rules that every participant respects. Hopefully we will see a different story in 2018.