120 hr update
(5.5 days to go)

For the firs time in the entire race,
we have gone 12 hours without a drop.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true.
We did have two make the call overnight…
But they got some rest and re-considered!

The weather is finally exhibiting some mercy.
Most of the course has partly cloudy skies today
that are keeping the high temperatures at or around 90.
The northern half of the course
(which they will all reach today if they hadn’t already)
also has much more shade than the southern half,
with trees frequently closer to the road.

There are still some deserts to span,
but mostly services are closer together from here on out.

Jun and Hui made it through Court street on the South side of Montgomery.
That marks the entire field trekking through
what is considered by many to be a rough neighborhood
without any unpleasant incidents.

It’s an important reminder that most people are good
and if we don’t go looking for trouble
we are most likely to see the best of
the inhabitants of places we visit.
Montgomery was good to the HOTS runners.

There are seven runners moving in the vicinity of the Grim Reaper.
They have shown the required pace is sustainable,
They have what it takes, if they can keep digging deep.

It is worth pointing out that at the pre-race briefing,
we found that 52 of the 54 entrants had attempted
HOTS and/or Volstate in the past.
The 2 women who had done neither,
are still in it!
Given the struggles that have shattered this veteran field,
Tiffany and Hui are putting on a show for the ages.
Can you imagine the grit!?!
Do not get in their way if they tell you they are gonna do something.

The big dogs have all completed the roller coaster in Rainbow City by now.
Up to this point only the meatwagon riders had experienced this novelty.
They can confirm that when the van had 13 occupants,
it felt very uncertain for a minute that it would make it over the crest
of the first rise to the top,
and knuckles were clenched for the speeding descents.
No doubt the adrenaline will have gotten the runners moving quicker
for a while.

The middle of the pack has crossed the swayback bridge,
one of the 3 portions of the course closed to vehicles.
(the beach, the bridge, and the bluff).

These diversions make for interesting things to look forward to
and stories to tell for the runners…
when they are worn down by mile after mile of rumble strips and traffic.

The front pack condensed overnight, with John Clarke’s rest yesterday allowing him to apply pressure on the leaders. They broke into the less-than-100-miles-to-go
territory overnight, and it will become a tactical race from here on.
Who can move safely, who needs rest, and who can run up that beast, Sand Mountain?!

Matt, Helmut, and Matt are running exemplary races behind those leaders,
facing all the same challenges,
but mostly they are seeing them on the opposite day/night schedule.
It will be interesting to see the different perspectives on the sections of the course
that they are covering in darkness
as opposed to the daylight.

So now they are spread out from Wetumpka to Gadsden…
Foot warriors on their quests.
All of them showing their strength and commitment,
to getting it done.

Categories: HOTS 2024