The Barkley Fall Classic is designed to give the runner a taste of what the Barkley Marathons is all about. It contains all the elements; beautiful trails thru the rugged Brushy Mountains, surprising new elements to the course every year, with the course map not revealed until the night before …
The Barkley Fall Classic is designed to give the runner a taste of what the Barkley Marathons is all about.
It contains all the elements; beautiful trails thru the rugged Brushy Mountains, surprising new elements to the course every year, with the course map not revealed until the night before the race, numerous hard climbs and descents (including some of the signature hills that have made the Barkley a thing of legend), and a very personal challenge to face down the demons that wait for us at our very limits of endurance.
The BFC is a 50 kilometer race, with a ridiculous amount of climb and descent (with the attendant reward of numerous scenic vistas.) The course is designed to challenge the runner mentally, as well as physically. GPS is NOT ALLOWED, and those choosing to use it run the risk of lifetime ban. Course markings only exist at major turns, leaving the runner to rely on their confidence that they have not made a wrong turn, or missed a right one. Long sections of very runnable trail follow on the heels of strength-sapping sections of hills… requiring the successful BFC runner to run, when every fiber of their being cries out for taking things slow to recover. The most devastating climbs hit at the runner’s weakest moments. Everything is arranged to play on the doubts and weaknesses that exist in all of us. The BFC’er must not only beat the course to finish, but they must conquer their own darkest fears….
As a final challenge, there is a 22.1 mile cutoff of nine and a half hours. Those who reach that point within the time limit are presented with a terrible choice. They can, with a word, choose to end the suffering and run an easy downhill grade for another 7 tenths of a mile, to record a marathon finish…. or, they can strike out into another 9 miles of brutal climbs and descents in an attempt to complete the 50k. Unlike other races with “drop-down” choices, those who choose to continue can no longer log a marathon. At the BFC it is all or nothing.
At the BFC, success is not guaranteed. It might even be considered unlikely. Fully a third of the aspiring entrants will come up with some reason to not be at the line when the starting cigarette is lit. (and who can blame them? at the BFC your very best is not good enough. It takes something a little more than that). More than half of those who have the guts to toe the line will not finish the 50k. The Barkley Fall Classic is not for everyone. If you are only looking to impress your friends, there are a lot of better 50k’s to choose from. You should pick one where you are sure to finish, if you don’t screw up. If you are looking for a chance to find that something extra inside yourself… that something that you do not know for certain is there… the BFC is for you.
Male and Female winners get guaranteed slots in the Big Barkley in the spring. (A lot of others may discover that they really do not even want to apply.)