A famous prison escape sparks the idea for a cult-like race that has seen only 10 finishers in its first 25 years. This award-winning, oddly inspiring, and wildly funny documentary reveals the sports world's most guarded secret.


Lazarus Lake
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





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Lazarus Lake Lazarus Lake ... Self


In its first 25 years only 10 people have finished The Barkley Marathons. Based on a historic prison escape, this cult like race tempts people from around the world to test their limits of physical and mental endurance in this documentary that contemplates the value of pain. Written by Anonymous

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Official Selection at Hot Docs 2015. North America's largest documentary Festival. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young landed in the top 15 of audience favorites. See more »


Julian: I think most people would be better off with more pain in their lives, honestly.I think that, if nothing else, they would appreciate the pain-free times more. But I think also there's this self-induced aspect of, You've struggled, you've overcome, you've gotten through, then you're confident and you both enjoy the rest of your life more, but also you feel like you can do things and you take on challenges that you wouldn't otherwise try, and you get to points that you wouldn't otherwise reach.
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Flocks First Time (Instrumental Version)
written by Tyler Gibbons & Robin MacArthur
performed by Red Heart The Ticker
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User Reviews

Inspiring and heart breaking.
20 June 2019 | by garethcrookSee all my reviews

I've heard of The Barkley Marathons before, but this doc really nails it. Low-fi homespun logistics tying together possibly the nuttiest and toughest course on the planet. Invite only and limited to 40 entrants per year, to tackle a 130(ish) mile course, across mind bogglingly hard terrain that you have to navigate yourself, with map/compass, no GPS. 5 laps, in daylight and at night, going opposite directions on each loop. Most people don't complete 1 Lap, never mind all 5. Completely solo, no help, no markers, no water stations, intentionally fluid organisation, even no set start time... but you only have 60 hours to complete it. With no markers and no GPS, can't you cheat? No, there are books at various points in the woods and you have to find them all, tear out the page that matches your race number (that changes each loop) and get a full set. It is awe inspiring. It is heart breaking and it makes for gripping viewing. Not a chance in hell I'd try it myself though.

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Release Date:

1 October 2016 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young See more »

Filming Locations:

Wartburg, Tennessee, USA See more »

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