The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats its Young

Every year, 40 international runners descend upon Tennessee with a compass and a prayer to test their limits against the Barkley Marathons. Inspired by James Earl Ray’s escape from nearby Brushy Mountain Prison, the race’s founder Lazarus Lake is as weird, unpredictable and irresistible a character as the idiosyncratic course he has created. Enshrouded in mystery, from the secret application process to the measly 10 finishers in its first 25 years, this “ball-buster” of a trail race has gained cult-like status with ultra-runners and amateurs alike. Participants are challenged by inexact directions, inhospitable conditions and obstacles like "Rat Jaw" and "Testicle Spectacle." From the entry fee of $1.60, a flannel shirt and a license plate (for race virgins) to the cigarette lighting that marks its start, this is a 60-hour endurance race like no other. This oddly inspirational and wildly funny sports documentary champions success in failure, fun in futility and the joker who organizes it all. Angie Driscoll, Hot Docs

>Coming to the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Starting November 27th