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Tales from Out There: The Barkley Marathons, the World's Toughest Trail Race
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Tales from Out There: The Barkley Marathons, the World's Toughest Trail Race

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Tales From Out There is the story of the Barkley Marathons, arguably the world's toughest long-distance trail foot-race. In this book, the 24-year history of this event is covered in detail, with all known runners and their results listed. Numerous photographs, charts, and maps are included. The runners have had some interesting experiences out there during the Barkley ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Arunaabh Shah
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I'll be frank, this was probably the worst written books I have ever read.
The formatting was all off, the author forgot to do a spellcheck and it looked like he simply printed a huge MS Word file on to 215 pages and published it.
And even the content in itself was repetitive, like an engineering student trying to fill up his assignment with additional words. The last 2 chapters(2008, 2009) were written in a different tone than the rest of the of the book.
But somehow, in some weird way, this was
Katie Stanton
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is a delicious irony in the negative reviews for a book about a 100+ mile race that only 15 people have finished in 33 years. This book isnt a cosy Eat Pray Love style narrative about a personal journey of enlightenment found through being outside. The author has taken part in countless iterations of the race and has years of records of the course, elevation profiles of the sections and information critical to prepare for the race. This account is an imperative manual to anyone hoping to ...more
Amar Pai
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This race sounds thoroughly unpleasant. 120 miles, cumulative 60,000 feet of elevation gain/loss, running in the dark through briar infested patches of rock and mud... who would do such a thing? Reading it has motivated me to try 5% harder at my own runs though. I even crashed through the brush on a trail the other day to find a shortcut! I didn't find it, I emerged with thorns in my socks and scratches on my legs. I felt ready for Barkley Marathons.
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book on my way to bed one night, when I was pretty tired, but it quickly grabbed my attention and I was surprised to find that I read a few chapters that first night. The Barkleys are incredible, as anything you read about them suggests. I don't think I have any interest in signing up, but I'm very happy to have read this book, and would be interested in taking a weekend at Frozen Head to check out the area.

I was surprised, after I ordered this book, to find how dense the
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think you have to be really fascinated with the Barkley Marathons to really like this book. One year ago I have seen the popular documentary of the race on netflix and I immediately was fascinated. I was gifted this book for Christmas and was really excited to read it. If you are not familiar with how the Barkley works, the author describes it and the mentally of the race and the director very well. Most interesting for me were the stories of the different runners on the course. The good and ...more
Shane Orr
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
A couple of years ago, I became fascinated by the Barkley Marathons after seeing a documentary about the world's toughest trail race. That's the kind of hyperbole that might be used by different races, but by any objective measure its true in this case. This race has been going on for over 30 years in the mountains of eastern Tennessee and less than 2% of runners have been able to complete all five 20+-mile loops. This is an account of the race up to 2008 by one of its most frequent runners. You ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you find yourself intrigued by the awesome and crazy Barkley Marathons, you'll probably enjoy this book, but I have to admit the writing isn't the best. Most of the chapters are a recap of a single year's race, and after a few years, it becomes a bit formulaic. I kind of felt like I was reading a book report, though one I found very interesting. It might not be for everyone.

The best parts were to the first few chapters that gave an overview of the race, and the last chapter which was Frozen
Zachary Lemon
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Granted this author is no Hemingway- and he doesn't pretend to be. What makes this book special is his all consuming passion for The Barkley and what it means to him. For that reason I think this book is essential to trying to understand (and especially preparing to attempt) this incredible challenge. At times the level of detail can be a little dry, but there are plenty of great stories from this legendary to keep you engaged.
Thomas Hunt
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and captivating read which, for me, is the perfect accompaniment to the Netflix documentary. Probably more a read for enthusiasts over the casual reader, but for those, it is fascinating.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not what I expected, this book chronicles the Barkley Marathons year by year. Lots of interesting tidbits of stories and lots of data (that I skimmed over). I would love to go hang out in camp, but I'll leave this race to the mega-badasses out there. :-)
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: running
It's ok, I enjoyed the documentary on Netflix better (so rare for me to say something like that).
Jason Zimmerman
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are a Barkley geek this is the only book for you.
Toph White
Little more background on this silly thing. Wants you to see how much you can hurt before making the decision to quit.
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, health
Folksy but interesting.
Molly Walker
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting to learn about the history of the Barkley Marathons from the perspective of a participant. The writing was difficult to follow at times and often felt bogged down in names and numbers.
Nick Pannone
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Tales From Out There" is an account about the Barkley Marathons that are arguably the toughest footrace in the world. I have recently become interested in these types of races, but I don't desire to run one. Furtaw's account is something that I am definitely interested in. The Barkleys don't entice me at all, except that I'd love to be there just to witness the race.
As for the book, it is mostly a documentary that Ed Furtaw put together about a race that was created and managed by Gary Lazarus
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A highly entertaining account of a race that I am grateful that I never have to run, from someone who has been running it throughout most of its history. Frozen Ed gives us an insider's guide to the development, refinement, and ratcheting difficulty of the Barkley Marathons, complete with howlingly funny and terrible stories about experiences that one never wants to have. Weather, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, mental breakdown... these runners do it so that we don't have to. Like many adventure ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Someone with only a casual interest in the Barkley may not enjoy this book, but someone who is familiar with ultra running races and the ultra running community will surely get a kick out of the humorous anecdotes and the edge of your seat tales of competition contained in this book. Of particular interest are the chapters detailing the events of the first finisher of the 100 mile race, the controversial disqualification of two 100 mile finishers and the breaking of the course record on the 20th ...more
Matt Skains
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
For a competition that doesn't have much information readily available, this was a good look at the history of the event from one of it's earliest participants. The guys who finish the Barkley are incredible and I am blown away by the dedication the race has.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting history to a fascinating race and the almost unbelievable runners who attempt the Barkley Marathons. Probably of more interest to those runners involved, but it is a good retelling of many races. Worth checking out if you are interested in the world's most difficult ultramarathon.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
A very extensive reading about the Barkleys Marathon. The author shows his obsession with the specific run something that is thrilling to read and learn about the stories from "out there"!
Todd Salzer
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it

A bit too "informational" for me, but a well researched documentation of the Barkely Marathons and the odd cats who run it. (I wish to be one, someday.)
Jan 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm glad I read this book so I don't have to put myself through this race. Not the kind of challenge I aspire to but definitely a compelling test of endurance.
rated it it was ok
Mar 26, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2019
Gerard Martinez
rated it it was amazing
Jun 23, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2018
Christopher Meredith
rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2015
Tracy Lee
rated it it was ok
Jul 19, 2012
Peter Himmelman
rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2018
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