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2007 Barkley Race Report by Rich Limacher

Barkley Yellow gate

The Yellow Gate, Courtesy of Finally Found Something I love

Rich “The Troubadour” Limacher (aka scRitch) is a runner who runs runs like no other runner runs. Here’s his trip report from the 2008 race, or at least his part of it, as originally published on Ultra List and also on Matt Mahoney’s great site.

2007 Race (Hah) Report

by Your Troubadour (“Barkley scRitch”)

OK, people, we got a greetings!

Remember Woodstock?  You should!  And so, we now also got a theme.

And since we now have a theme, I’ve thus conjured up the following little imagery-from-memory “thingy” about a particular testicular challenge that happened to me earlier this past weekend.

[Note that the mentioned “Testicle Spectacle” refers to one GIGANTIC powerline HILL on the Barkley course.  The Barkley Marathons enjoy the universally-approved dubious distinction of being considered one of the toughest footraces on earth.  There’s 11,000 vertical feet of climb per 20-mile loop.  You’re supposed to “run” 5 loops.  In the entire history of the race–from 1986 to this past weekend–there have been exactly six people who’ve finished.  Everybody else quits, or nearly dies, long LONG before that.]

Here’s how the Testicle Spectacle got its name–from the Jewish gentleman who first laid eyes on it.  He gawked, his jaw dropped, and he of all people made The Sign of The Cross, but with this difference–touching his hand to all bodyparts and/or accoutrements mentioned, and praying:  “Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch.”

That is sometimes how “hills” [read: mountains] are named for the benefit of ultramarathon running events in eastern Tennessee.  [F.Y.I., eye’mzhur. ;-]

Oh yeah, and the course change referenced [below, far below] is that the Testicle Spectacle has now and forevermore replaced “The Hump.”  [Hmmm, do we now wonder how that got ITS name?]

Finally, you also need to realize that no less a media reportáge than the Washington Post itself was in attendance the whole frickin’ weekend–driving us all nuts.  They even tagged along to Granny’s Diner Monday morning, to report on us eating breakfast.

( O_O )

Alright, so OK, THIS is the “finally”:  Again this year nobody finished.  Nope.  Da nada.  Not a single still-breathing human being.

Oh yeah, and there was yet another interesting little tidbit that happened which I now call:  “The Hungarian’s Wrap-soddy.”

This young Balls-Adz Somethingorother–strange visitor from another kingdom–somehow managed to spear a tree branch right through his leg all the way to the knee bone about 1/3rd of the way along the first tenth of the race.  So THEN he had to turn around and limp-hike that many boucou miles back to camp [his next “escape route” would only occur after that whole tenth of the race], so somebody there could drive him to the hospital.  Another buddy, in the Barkley tradition, brought that selfsame tree branch back to camp–with Hungarian flesh still stuck on it.  And yet a third buddy, in the Lazarus Lake tradition [he’s the R.D.], then hollered: “Fresh MEAT!  Let’s EAT!”

Yo!  Gimme mo barbeque…

[No, I wasn’t either one of the above-mentioned “buddies.”  I was asshole-over-shoulder-blades deep into motherfucking thorns.]

OK, so now we have magically conjured up all THIS, as follows, for all the Barkleyites:

( Q_Q )


Washington Post – Early Edition (Link)

As read this past Saturday from the Staging Area by Campsite 12:

Okay, okay, people, we got a Post.  Okay.  On the front page you have, on the left, a very big full color photo of a huge mass of idiots, which are you.  And it says, “Barkley was the magic for dozens at annual April Fools’ race… Thirty-five whack-jobs and their support crews camp out in a pit of doom.”

Hah!  Dig it, dig it:

Towers on the mountain hold weird fascination…

wait a second, wait a second, I’m doin’ this.

Wartburg, Tennessee, March 31st—Despite massive previous failures, sizzling heat, shortages of food, water, and, uh, medical facilities, about, uh, three dozen fairly old and young people swarmed over these hills today for the Barkley Marathons at Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area.  With the prospect of endorphins and the making of history, these grizzled people came in vans, camping in the park, romping in the briars, cursing, falling, and sucking air through blowdowns.  Participants…


participants well behaved!  The crowd, which was camped and fed by six cases of frozen chicken donated by the Barkley farm near here, (‘let’s hear it for him, people!’) was well behaved according to both the sponsors and the rangers, even though at least one European told of having been chased down, arrested, and interrogated at gunpoint inside the nearby Brushy Mountain prison–mostly on possession of cranberry pills–as he was being accused of either having escaped or operating there under cover as a terrorist.

Hmmm, bummer bummer.

It says other things here, man, like about shortages of aid, bottled water, and, uh, emergency medical facilities for visiting Hungarians who impale legs clear through to the bone on fallen tree limbs… how cars are double parked all over the campground… and huge, huge displays of ridiculous testicular braggadocio, and all this other good shit… but, all in all, man, it says you’ve been pretty groovy and that you’ve been doin’ a groovy scene out here.  And we gotta thank you for it.  You’re being very meek and humbled by it all.  You’re making this race.

OK, I admit.  The “true inspiration” for all this came from my 2-disk CD of Woodstock–listened to for twelve solid hours during my drive back home–mostly because this is the first time in my life I’ve ever owned a vehicle with a CD player, but probably more so because Woodstock is the only actual record I’ve ever held.

And in case you weren’t there, or were born years afterward, or have zero clue in the universe as to just what in the heck I’m talking about, here. . .  over the course of the past 37-and-a-half years, I’ve memorized those “stage announcements” completely:

“Okay, okay, people.  We got a Times.  Okay.  On the front page, you have, on the left, a very big aerial photo of a huge mass of people, which are you.  And it says, `Music was the magic for throngs at folk-rock fair… Three hundred thousand camp out in a sea of mud.’  Ha!  Dig it, dig it:  ‘Towers near the stage hold loudspeakers…’  wait a second, wait a second, I’m doin’ this.  `Bethtown, New York, August 16th—Despite massive traffic jams, drenching thunderstorms, shortages of food, water, and,’ ah, `medical facilities; about,’ ah, `three hundred thousand peop… young people swarmed over this rural area today for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. …the prospect of drugs and making a scene, the young people came in droves, camping in the woods, romping in the mud, talking, smoking, and listening to wailing music.  Participants…’ quote, `participants well behaved… The crowd, which camped on the six hundred acre farm of Max Yazgur, near here, (“let’s hear it for him, people!”) was well behaved, according to both the sponsors and the police, even though about seventy-five persons in the area were arrested, mostly on possessing narcotics.’ Hmmm, bumma bumma.

“It says other things here, man, like about how shortages of food, water, and, ah, medical facilities… how cars are lined up for miles… and huge, huge traffic jams, and all this other good shit… but, all in all, man, it says you’ve been pretty groovy and that you’ve been doin’ a groovy scene out here.  And we gotta thank you for it.  You’re being very beautiful.  You’re making this show.”

Oh yeah.  And let’s not forget this either:

“Gimme an `F’!  (“eff!!!”)  Gimme a `U’!  (“yoo!!!”)  Gimme a `C’! (“see!!!”)  Gimme a `K’!  (“kay!!!”)  What’s that spell?  (“fuck!!!”)  What’s that spell?  (“fuck!!!”) What’s that spell? (“fuck!!!”) What’s that spell?”  (“fuck!!!”)


So put down your gun.  Pick up a book.  [The Barkley has paperback books planted at all the extreme edges of the course.  You need to tear out a page and carry it back to the start/finish camp to prove you were there.]  We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s four-five-six.  What’re we runnin’ for?  Don’t ask me, I don’t give a rip–the next candyass is the end of our trip.  And it’s seven-eight-nine, park it at the self-serve pump.  Well, our boys are back now in Iraq.  Whoopie, we’re all in this slump!

Listen, there’s about three hundred million of you fuckers out there, an’ all I see is everybody drivin’!  I don’t know how you people ever expect to stop global warming if ya can’t transport yerselves any better’n that.  Come on, RUN!  And it’s five-six-seven…

Well okay, dear fiends,

Let’s not get all political here.

Let’s just…

Let’s just forget all this Testicle Spectacle shit, and go on back to the Hump.


You kick rocks or you can roll, you get stabbed or you can stroll at the Hump.  (Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump!)  You can sway n’ you can move n’ you can really get to groovin’ at the Hump. (Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump!)  All the cats n’ chicks can really get their kicks at the Hump.  (Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump!)  Let’s go to the Hump.  (Oh, baby!)  Let’s go to the Hump!  (Oh, baby!)  Let’s go to the Hump.  (Oh, baby!)  Let’s go to the Hump! …Come on, let’s go to the Hump.  Let’s go to the Hump.  (Oh, baby!)  Let’s go to the Hump!  (Oh, baby!)  Let’s go to the Hump.  (Oh, baby!)  Let’s go to the Hump!  All the cats n’ chicks can really get their kicks at the Hump.  (Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump-Hump!)  Let’s GO!

Your loser,
“Barkley scRitch”
(6-time DNFer who, this year before being timed out, managed to complete a whole 0.14ths of the course by retrieving 7 ripped-out pages… which I still have, if anybody wants to read them)

Reproduced with permission. If you’d like your Barkley report on the site, just let me know. If you didn’t understand any of the terms, check out the Quick Reference Guide.


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