The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young

Live Q&A with Barkley Marathons finisher John Kelly, who completed the epic endurance event in 2017 with a time of 59 hours 30 minutes and 53 seconds

Friday 11 October, 7:30pm, Tickets £13 (£11 concessions)

Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax








Every year, 40 international runners descend upon a small town in Tennessee to test their mental and physical limits against the Barkley Marathons. Devised as a mockery of James Earl Ray’s historic prison escape gone awry, the race has seen only 15 finishers in its history. Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax will host a live Questions and Answers evening on Friday 11 October at 7.30pm with Barkley Marathons finisher John Kelly, who completed epic endurance event in 2017 with a time of 59 hours 30 minutes and 53 seconds.


Square Chapel Film Programmer, Dave Garratt said:John Kelly is one of the top ultra-runners in the World and we are delighted to be able to bring him to Halifax to talk about his epic achievements at Barkley and elsewhere. We have a growing reputation of bringing the best runners, climbers and adventurers from around the world to West Yorkshire and have previously welcomed Mountaineer Mollie Hughes and ultra-runners Nicky Spinks and Fiona Oakes. I’m sure John would tell you about how excited his is to be coming but he is currently racing in the 330km Tor des Geants in the Italian Alps.”


The race’s cofounder Lazarus Lake is as unpredictable and irresistible a character as the idiosyncratic event he has created. With a secret application process, unknown start time, and treacherous terrain, the Barkley has gained cult-like status with ultrarunners and amateurs alike. This award winning, oddly inspiring, and wildly funny documentary invites you to the sports world’s most guarded secret; where pain has value, failure is spectacular, and it only costs $1.60 to enter.



About John Kelly

John Kelly is one of only 15 people ever to finish the Barkley Marathons in its 33-year history. He grew up in Morgan County, Tennessee, just across the street from where the Barkley Marathons begins and has had a rapid rise to ultra-runner having never completed more than a 10k until 2013. Also, an accomplished triathlete and Ironman, and a married father of three, John has recently moved to the UK as part of his job as a data scientist and is currently living in Bristol.



The Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathons in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee is known to the toughest endurance challenge ever with over 160 kilometers of tough terrain, sheer drops and thick forest. It’s invite-only and runners have 60 hours to complete it. Having run since 1986, it’s one of the few running races that boasts having a nearly 100 per cent failure rate. The Barkley Marathons is often referred to as ‘The Race that Eats its Young.


Other adventure and motivational documentaries coming up at Square Chapel include:


Home with a Q&A with Sarah Outen on Wednesday 6 November (Tickets £10). Between 2011 and 2015 UK adventurer Sarah Outen traversed the globe by bike, kayak and rowing boat, travelling over 20,000 miles by human power alone. Her voyage was followed by thousands, who were hooked on her infectious humour and love of life.


But travelling solo, the trip took its toll, and a violent storm on the Pacific took Sarah to the physical and mental brink. Woven from hundreds of hours of footage, Home intimately and unflinchingly captures Sarah’s journey, telling a story of heart and soul, of real struggle and joy, and one woman’s trek towards true emotional acceptance.


Brit Rock Film Tour 2019 on Sunday 17 and Wednesday 20 November. The Brit Rock Film Tour 2019 has all the best new climbing films from the UK’s top adventure filmmakers, featuring some of the country’s most popular climbers. The 2019 tour delivers a stunning line-up of compelling stories from the vertical world in its strongest program to date.


The main feature, Climbing Blind, is about a climber who carried on climbing despite his rapid sight loss and promises to be another inspirational evening and perfect for fans of Free Solo and Meru.





For more information, images, press interviews and press tickets please contact Sofia Cann, Marketing and Communications Manager, Tel 01422 353073



Notes to editor:

The Barkley Marathons + John Kelly Q&A

Fri 11 Oct, 7:30pm at Red Brick Auditorium

Tickets: £13 (£11 concs), approx running time: 89mins + Q&A

Age: 12A

Director: Annika Iltis, Timothy James Kane

Country: USA

Year: 2014


Find out more about The Barkley Marathons Movie at

You can also find out more about John Kelly by visiting his blog at



Home + Q&A with Sarah Outen

Wednesday 6 November

Tickets £10


Brit Rock Film Tour 2019

Sunday 17 and Wednesday 20 November


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