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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


Sarah Thomas on a fiendishly hardcore swimming challenge


In 2016, a friend suggested I watch a documentary on Netflix called ‘The Barkley Marathons.’ The documentary outlines a trail running race that takes place in early April in the mountains of Tennessee. In the Barkley, runners complete five loops of approximately 20 miles. The route is loosely marked, some on trail/some off trail. Competitors can help each other, but GPS devices and outside assistance are forbidden. To ensure that participants have completed the entire loop, they are required to tear a page out of a book and bring it back to the start/finish. All five loops have to be completed in under 12 hours, with a total race time to be completed in under 60 hours. Since the race originated in the 1980s, it has only been completed 18 times by 15 different runners. They run in any conditions – extreme heat, rain, ice and snow. Parts of the trail are filled with briars that cut your legs and hands. It’s slippery and muddy.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In the June issue of Outdoor Swimmer: wild swimming with a Bronze Age boat, #2minutebeachclean founder Martin Dorey, the history of swimming the Thames and new book the Lido Guide. Plus, we have advice from guest coach Keri-anne Payne, Olympic silver medallist and double 10k open water world champion, on correct body position. And our regular Olympian contributor, Cassie Patten, gives you some top tips on how to mix up your training to get faster in the water this summer. We also have outdoor training session ideas to help you swim straighter and advice to help you overcome race day worries. And if you fancy trying something a little different this summer, we have training ideas for swimrun races. And as always we have the most comprehensive UK and international event listings to help you plan your summer swims