180 hr update
(3 days to go)

We had to skip the 7 day update this morning,
there is always some point during the races
when a perfect little storm comes up
and derails the routine.

Anyway, early this morning Matt Barker
closed out his strong run, becoming the 4th
(and final!)
runner to finish in under a week.

Those first four really did themselves a solid,
finishing on the coolest day of the event,
right before the heat has started to build back up.
It was 85 degrees up on Sand Mountain yesterday,
they practically finished in air conditioning!
(They might describe it differently but we know better).

Next up to traverse the Wills Valley and ascend Sand Mountain
has been Helmut…steady Helmut. Right at 50 miles per 24 hours
is the pace he’s maintained since leaving the Gulf a week ago.
As the temperature climbed, Helmut was able to take advantage
of the kindness of the residents along the course…
posing for photos with at least one Road Angel as he approached Flat Rock, AL.
We expect him at the finish shortly, so I will have to wrap this up
and meet him at the Rock!

As an aside, we had been considering adding another Barkley twist
to HOTS this year,
and incorporating a “fun run”
style finish…
The Fort Payne Fun Run.
We wondered how many we could tempt with credit for official completion
of a 337 mile distance, that would deliver them from their sins
a mere 46 miles short of Castle Rock,
But we thought better of it,
knowing all these runners would be fully invested
and run right through that theoretical finish,
laughing at the silly idea of stopping early and wasting their efforts.

Tonight the last runners will pass that less-than-a-hundred-to-go mark!
They might even start to have fleeting moments where they think
finishing this beast is a possible reality…
but for now the reality is still just….
more foot pain and exhaustion!

Categories: HOTS 2024