HE PACKED HIS BAGS for a race vaunted to be the hardest on the planet, flew to the USA to take part in an event nobody had completed the year before, and lined up to attempt to cross a finish line only fifteen individuals have reached since the event began in 1986. We talk to Gareth Morgan – to hear his story, and to find out if anyone finished the Barkley Marathons this time around.
“I’ve only been running for three years. It was a case of ticking off the distances one by one. Starting at five kays, I made my way up to Comrades; and eventually, last year, to the Washie 100-Miler in the Eastern Cape,” says Gareth, matter-of-factly.
“I completed that in 23 hours, and it really opened my eyes as to how hard I could push myself.
“From there I was totally hooked on ultras, and started looking for the next challenge. I run both road and trail, so there are a ton of options available – I just needed to find one to set my sights on.”
DESIGNED TO FAIL
But before heading off to the US with Gareth, we wanted to know how a runner gets to enter an event carrying the mantle of ‘most difficult in the world’. In Gareth’s case, we didn’t have to dig any further than his usual midweek club run in Durban – for many, a great place to earn an evening beer.
While enjoying a post-run drink and a chat with a buddy, the subject of the Barkley Maratho