Director: Annika Iltis, James Kane

A niche movie is a wonderful thing. It can have your unique sense of humor. It can set place in your small hometown. Or it can center around an activity that you love so much. That is The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young for me.

Directors Annika Iltis and Timothy James Kane give a behind the scenes look at The Barkley Marathon, a race that had only 10 finishers in its first 25 years of existence. The race is five loops, tallying 100 miles, and quite possibly more. The limited set of qualified runners run through the wilderness, getting attacked by brambles while crawling under prisons and traversing through daylight and darkness. By interviewing all partaking, the race directors and the race runners, we get an insight into what it’s like to endure the Barkley Marathon on both a mental and physical level.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young has many characters, but none are as powerful as the track and race itself. That is what makes this documentary so strong. There are many unique human personalities for sure, but they are just branching off the main trunk. The race is a behemoth. Almost everyone who competes in the Barkley Marathon is aspirational and likable. They are striving to do something that is seemingly impossible. You want to see them succeed, but at the same time you want to see the track be as ferocious as it can be. It is a lot like watching professional golfers struggle on a course; you want to see the best of the best, but sometimes a slog is better than everyone shooting low.

There is a line in the movie that centers around how some people enjoy the pain of running, both the mental and the physical. Speaking personally, that connected with me and should resonate with any competitor. There is no doubt that competing against other people is a thrill, but there is nothing better than pushing yourself to the limit. Setting standards for yourself, setting goals both in the short term and the long term.

For many of the competitors of the Barkley Marathons, they achieve success in the race in stages. It takes years. Going from one lap, to competing the fun run (three laps), to finishing the whole thing. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young takes an extreme of exercise, but makes it relatable to every of every activity level.

After watching The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its, you will want to be active and push yourself in some way shape or form. That is what happened to me. But on a more figurative level, the documentary will also give you confidence to be who you truly are when facing struggles. Sometimes people have a tendency to change their personality to what people would expect in hardship; The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its highlights each of the characters eccentricities and who everyone accepts everyone for who they are. People may as why you are the way you are, but they don’t ask you to change. They may ask why the Barkley Marathon is 100 miles long, but they’d never ask it to change.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young is available for streaming on Amazon Prime. If you want to be charmed by something you didn’t even know existed, then check this movie out and get ready to lace up your sneakers.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

“The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young” IMDB
“The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young” Rotten Tomatoes

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