A miniature version of the Barkley Marathons, dubbed “Super Mini Itsy Bitsy Barkley,” had many of the makings of the real 100-mile ultramarathon.
The imitation event was held on Sunday morning in North Vancouver in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. Gary Robbins and Barkley Marathons race director Lazarus Lake were on hand as participants scoured an unmarked course for pages in books as they do during the Barkley Marathons, a gruelling trail race in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee that some call the toughest foot race in the world.
The Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club hosted the mini event.
Here are the similarities and differences between the “Super Mini Itsy Bitsy Barkley” and the big, bad Barkley Marathons.
– “Run around the woods looking for books”
– $1.60 entry fee
– Appearance from Lazarus Lake
– Book page collecting on an unmarked course
– Personal map copied from a master map
– Lighting of a cigarette to signal start of the race
– Runners assigned numbers
– No change (for the entry fee) given
– A conch could be found on-site
– Hidden books in Ziploc bags to prevent water damage
– Race-themed book titles, including the Golden Compass and Playing With Fire
– “Not easy”
– 150-person field versus the Barkley’s 40-person limit
– In Canada
– Simple (and public) registration (the Barkley’s registration methods are for the most part a mystery)
– Doesn’t have its own documentaries
– A staggered start for the “Super Mini Itsy Bitsy Barkley”
– “Not impossible”
– Online course map
– No yellow gate
– No briars (that we know of)
– No playing of the “Taps” on a bugle for a DNF
– No license plates
– No running through prison water drainage pipes
– Publicly-known start time
A full photo album from the event can be found here.