vole stare toad race…. 192 hour update
no update happened last night.
the battering by yesterday afternoon’s thunderstorm holocaust turned the finish into a disaster zone.
and the staff was already an assortment of zombies.
vol state is a grueling event,
no matter what part you play.
we return after the blessing of a break in the stream of finishers
with some sleep under our belts,
to a race HQ that did not miraculously heal.
everything is wet.
base camp is battered and damaged
but it still functions.
much like the runners it serves.
vol state 2023 will be remembered for the most mercurial weather in the history of the race.
yesterday was a great example.
this time yesterday morning we were reveling in the best weather forecast possible.
it was not supposed to get over 79 degrees all day
and no rain until late last night….
two hours later the same weather service issued a heat advisory
as the tennessee oven heated up with record speed.
two hours after that we were scrambling to secure anything loose
and to find safe places to keep the electronics dry.
somehow we managed to continue recording the finishers,
even todd millinaker,
who arrived in the midst of the maelstrom.
rather than the customary celebration
arriving finishers
(and their families)
were assigned tent poles to cling to
so that the entire finish setup would not blow off the mountain!
so here we are,
in the soggy wreckage of our camp,
waiting on regina sooey to lead a new parade of finishers.
the hardy vol staters have persevered thru every possible weather
the long thin line moves on.
and it is a time to look at the morning checkin
and reflect over these people,
many of them only names just 8 days ago.
with only 4 checkin periods remaining
all the flexibility is gone.
each period is a separate contest
find the will and the strength to record the miles and stay on pace.
with the mercurial weather they do not have any idea what to expect.
not that it matters.
like their mental reserves
their equipment is exhausted.
everything they havent lost or mailed home
is worn out, used up, or wet.
i remember their smiling faces as we loaded the ferry
excited, uncertain, hopeful but not knowing what to expect.
since then we have followed their ups and downs.
we have seen them in times of doubt.
when the true enormity of the task they had taken on became apparent.
we have seen them battle thru obstacles
and solve problems.
we have seen them ready to quit
but somehow they hung on.
as they slowly close on the destination
they are not the same as they were 8 days ago.
these are seasoned warriors
who will allow nothing to stand between them and their goal.
many have fallen
but those who fight on are the best.
i wonder.
had they known in advance
how hard it really would be
would they have boarded that ferry?

Categories: Vols2023