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RUN247 / Running News / Barkley Marathons mastermind Lazarus Lake shares EPIC updates on his own personal test of endurance

Barkley Marathons mastermind Lazarus Lake shares EPIC updates on his own personal test of endurance

Katherine Brook
Trail running writer
Published on
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Forty days into his epic walking challenge across the United States, Barkley Marathons mastermind Gary Cantrell, aka Lazarus Lake, has now tackled the Alleghenies and has just passed Cincinnati, Ohio.

After embarking on April Fool’s Day, Laz is now almost a third of the way through his trek from Delaware to San Francisco and is now nearing the Indiana border. #Lazcon is getting real…

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Energy drinks, cigarettes and pure grit

Lake’s goal when he set out on this epic test of endurance was to complete it in 150 days, finishing in August for his 70th birthday. But now ‘the numbers point more to October’, said Guardian writer Jared Beasley, who crewed Lake for 10 days in April.

Not only is the journey hot and mountainous, Lake’s health issues continue to plague him, be it the blocked femoral artery in his left leg, Graves’ Disease or a dodgy toenail, which, in an attempt to relieve the pressure, he has apparently cut a hole in his shoe.

So far, his trek has taken him from the cool waters of the Atlantic, along the Coastal Plain, over the Blue Ridge, through the Valley region of Appalachia, and he’s just conquered the infamous Alleghenies. 

This isn’t the first epic trans-continental trek Lakes has embarked upon. In 2018, he walked 3,365 miles from Newport, Rhode Island to Newport, Oregon – it took him 126 days.

His latest challenge is a spectacular test of endurance, but also a spectacular example of spirit and community. Social media platforms are full of Laz sightings and Laz meetings, as his journey is punctuated by marvellous moments.

‘I am going too slow and I need to go faster’

Lake has been sharing regular diary entries to his Facebook page. They are as thought-provoking as ever:

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May 8, 2024

I can’t believe it is 2030 already.
the days go so fast.
the only time to relax is during the actual walking.
then all i have to do is keep moving
stay under control
and don’t get hurt.
nothing i can do on any individual day can effect my attempt
unless it is negative.

Look and observe
take photos
think about what i am seeing.
the road is the only place there is no pressure…

Except i am going too slow and need to go faster.

It doesn’t sound like much.
Walk across the country.
but it is hard.

Today was a sweet day.
we reached cincinnati.
even after all we have done
even as close as it felt like we were
It still took a long time to reach the real city of cincinnati.

God,
I can’t believe it is 2140.

May 6, 2024

I reached a landmark today!
the end of the allegheny plateau came with a bang.

It was still pretty early in the morning when we reached measley ridge.
It wasn’t a huge climb from the plateau side,
but when we reached the top it had the best rock cuts we had seen in several days,
and the view out in front of us was almost as stirring as when i topped the last of the allegheny mountains and looked down at the hills of the plateau.

It didn’t mean there were no more climbs.
it wasn’t that long before i went down into a deep river valley
and had a pretty stiff climb out of that.
but the rest of the day we were passing thru rolling farmland.

May 5, 2024

Moving day.
it is moving day again.
i wake up tired.
dress
fix my feet
pack my stuff that i just unpacked last night
we load up and head out.

Every day is moving day.
where will i stay tonight?
what will we eat?

Every day is a race.
get up early and get out on the road.
fight for every mile on weary legs.
walk thru the rain
walk in the sun
walk when it is cold
walk when it is hot.

Early in the afternoon we made the ascent of union hill,
the biggest climb in ohio so far
before sitting down for a hasty lunch
interrupted by yet another rain
then spent the rest of the afternoon finally walking under clouds that decided not to dump on us!

The most amazing thing about this trek has been the number of people who have contributed.
i cant even try to name all the people who have pitched in one way or another
but i can tell you i would not be 700 miles down the road without them.
the crew chiefs, tho,
i have come to rely on them to take care of pretty much everything that needs to be done
coordinating everyone else,
(including moving day!)
as my own ability to focus has gradually shrunk to just the map and the miles.

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.

THE SBRX Show

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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