vole stare toad race… 186 hour update
the fullest week
sorry for the delay.
the rain stopped so we have some power from carl’s generator
but there is what passes for a stream of finishers coming in.
and i have to stop to hear the stories.
this week has been packed full of living.
this week.
the vol staters that remain have been on the road for an entire week.
it seems like a lifetime.
it was supposed to be cool today.
as it has done all week,
the weather has immediately turned in a different direction from the forecast.
it is getting hot on the rock.
the runners coming in run the gamut.
some have rested in kimball and are relatively fresh.
"relatively" being the key word.
others are pushing thru to the rock without a stop.
those ones are really hurting when they arrive.
but the action at the rock is about personal victories.
every runner who arrives is a story
every one has overcome monumental hardships
every one has solved insoluble problems …
every one has cried.
half of them have mentally quit at least once.
but the truth is,
you can mentally quit on a stretch of shadeless asphalt
the 160 degree surface melting your shoes and cooking your feet
but you cant stop.
you can mentally quit after 20 hours with no nutrition except hot water
(and not even that for the last 4 hours)
but you cant stop.
you can mentally quit when you are struggling to move 1 mile in an hour
but you cant stop.
you cant stop until you find a refuge.
and once you are resting in a refuge
and the ac reduces your core temperature below the boiling point
some cold water reinflates your dehydrated body
and you have some food in your stomach
like as not you will remember why you are here…
you are going to the rock.
but, if you did not sincerely believe you were quitting
during those terrible moments
i dont know if a person could survive.
some of the final miles are epic struggles.
taking a nap every 400 yards.
the last angel station a mere 2 miles from the finish
a life saving oasis.
the tank has been drained in the long fight to get here
and there are just enough fumes left to turn the crank in fits and starts.
but they are getting here.
far away on the sweltering road to shelbyville
the back of the pack is engaged in a terrible battle with oprah.
here savage attacks unrelenting.
another fell this morning.
the long journey ending with the rock still remote.
5 more walk with oprah in their midst.
the clicking stiletto heels echoing in their ears.
4 more are close enough to hear the heels
to catch glimpses of oprah if they look over their shoulders.
some of them have already been clinging by their fingernails for days
the return of the baking sun and canadian smoke is not a happy situation.
they have zero cushion.
every day has to be a win.
and they still have 3 days to go.

Categories: Vols2023