RUN247 / Running News / Barkley Marathons mastermind Lazarus Lake on new barriers and tractor boys as his EPIC TREK continues

Barkley Marathons mastermind Lazarus Lake on new barriers and tractor boys as his EPIC TREK continues

Katherine Brook
Trail running writer
Published on
Endure 24
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Lazarus Lake has now covered more than 800 miles as the Barkley Marathons mastermind enters the midwestern state of Illinois on his epic challenge to walk across America.

More than 50 days ago, the unique force of nature that is Lake left Delaware on April 1, and he is now just beyond Flora, in Illinois, heading towards Xenia, as he continues to shuffle along dusty, busy roads, making history with every step.


Road Closed

Lake has followed many roads that have come to an abrupt end, causing the team to retrace their steps and replan. But Lake wasn’t going to be stopped by a ‘Road Closed’ sign.

His crew had been ‘making noise’ about Lake not being able to make it through, but he figured it was more of a ‘suggestion’. Lake continued onwards, meeting several ‘Road Closed’ signs and some questionable terrain.

“I saw what they meant.
they were pretty serious about closing the road to cars.
and i had to climb over a lot of barricades
and wade thru some tall weeds.
but i didn’t notice anything that seemed designed to stop pedestrians.

“I don’t see how tomorrow can possibly match today for fun
and adventure.
but i think that every day!”

Lazarus Lake day 2 Barkley Marathons 2023 photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram
Lazarus Lake is continuing his trek across America [Photo credit: Davidmillerphotography_ on Instagram]

I broke my rule

Lake has been joined by many supporters since began his trek, but he doesn’t usually stop, not to mention it’s too dangerous for people to join him, given he’s hugging hard shoulders in a bid not to be swept up in the thick, grimy, exhaust-filled air, which beckons behind every vehicle. But, this last week, Laz stopped…

Lazarus Lake daily update, May 21

The great man provided this lovely update on Facebook:

“i had just crossed the bridge over the embarras river
and there was a guy on a tractor mowing the embankment.
as i came even with him he turned off the tractor
and started beeping his horn.

i looked over and he was waving his arms at me
and trying to get out of his cab at the same time.
i stopped and he came running up the hill;
‘are you that guy who is walking across the country?’
‘i am one of them’
‘and has that crazy race?’
‘the Barkley?’
‘yes, yes, that’s it. i can’t believe it. i am just working and i look up…
and there you are! I run ultras!!’

i broke my rule and waited while he ran back down to his tractor to get his phone
and then ran back up to take a selfie…

i have to admit.
when i continued down the road
it seemed a little less hot
and i felt a little less tired.”

If Lake isn’t walking, he’s eating, and if he isn’t eating, he’s sleeping, and if he isn’t sleeping, he’s writing his Facebook posts. This leaves very little time for him to respond to people’s comments – but they don’t go unheard.

He explained: “I feel bad that I don’t respond to people’s comments. Time is so short out here on the road. But I read them. I get really excited when someone local to the places I am passing through. The likes and laughs makes the time I spend on the daily writeup seem worthwhile.

“I will never forget a step of the journey. But I want to share it with others. Maybe inspire them to take their own trips outside the comfort zone. So don’t take the unanswered questions as being ignored: I hear you, I just don’t have time to answer. I barely have time to eat and sleep!”

Katherine Brook
Written by
Katherine Brook
A copywriter and journalist by profession Katherine is a passionate trail runner and often to be found challenging herself across the UK & Europe. 2024 will see her take on a triathlon challenge.


In episode 1 of our new SBRX Show we sit down with ultra runners and coaches Kim and Jayson Cavill to get their take on the Barkley Marathons and triathlon & trail running gear reviews, training tips and more

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