The (Almost) Secret 100-Mile Marathon

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Of the 800 ultra-runners who have attempted the Barkley Marathon, only 12 have finished.  That’s the same number of people as have walked on the moon. There is no prize for this “test of all limits” just the feat of finishing.  The first person to do so in 1995 had a time of 59 hours and 28 minutes.

The Barkley Marathon is known as the world’s toughest and most secretive trail race. (Nevertheless, the NYT does report that it takes place in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee.)

“All the other big races are set up for you to succeed. The Barkley is set up for you to fail,” said Gary Cantrell, the race’s director and creator.

This race is quirky.  The entry fee is $1.60. Entrants are selected and must answer bizarre questions such as “What is the most important vegetable group?” Cantrell collects license plates from first-timers.  All participants walk for the first part of the race. They only begin to run after rounding a bend where Cantrell can no longer see them.  He hides books (with dark, oppressive titles) at various points along the race course; the runners must rip out the page that matches their race number. 

Other marathons pale in its wake.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/sports/the-barkley-marathons-few-know-how-to-enter-fewer-finish.html?_r=0

Walking Japan’s Ancient Highway – The Nakasendo Way

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Walk the route taken by feudal lords, samurai, traveling merchants and pilgrims in seventeenth-century Japan. The Nakasendo Way literally means ‘the road through the mountains’. These days, this well-preserved path is a quiet respite from the busier roads of life.

It is an easy journey, meant to be taken at a comfortable pace. The walking tour begins in the ancient capital of Kyoto, passes through picturesque old towns near Nagoya and finalizes in Tokyo.  Accommodation in traditional Japanese inns, transport and assistance with baggage are all part of the experience. 

http://www.walkjapan.com/tour/nakasendo-way/

 

See also:

http://travel.cnn.com/tokyo/play/road-trip-nakasendo-highway-%E2%80%93-japans-version-route-66-623992

Photo source: 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=nakasendo+highway&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=9MsPU-SzA5LuqwGj0YDABg&ved=0CCgQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566