192 hr update
(2.5 days to go)

Summertime at HOTS

Helmut trudged onto the Rock just before midnight last night,
the first finisher in official summertime.
If you try to argue with any of them that summer has only just arrived,
they may make outrageous claims that it started more than a week ago.
But that is just the sleep deprivation talking.

Our German friend recounted for us all 5 of his interactions with law enforcement,
a rite of passage for the journey runner.

More than one entrant this year has been questioned
in order to figure out whether they had committed a crime.
Helmut was asked whether he had been peeking through windows
on someone’s porch…
“Excuse me? No. The closest I have come to anyone’s house is sitting at
the end of a driveway, using my phone to check-in for this race I’m running.”

John was asked about gunshots in the area.
He had heard them, and even had postulated a story about the circumstances…
“There were 4 shots quickly, followed by a single shot a few seconds later,
I immediately thought…..muder-suicide?!?”

Michelle Chauvin’s pack was searched, on the side of the road…
“Yes officer, I can explain…. those are my salt pills….it’s hot out here!”

Once local law enforcement finds out about the race,
and confirms the story’s legitimacy (!)
There is almost always support and encouragement,
and a promise to look out for the rest of the racers.
There are even cops along old courses that follow the races
for years to come!

The next runner to reach the Rock
will almost certainly be Matt Cantrell.
He has a 42 mile lead over the next runner,
with only a marathon to go…
But nothing is free at the HOTS.
A marathon is a marathon….
Except when it’s at the end of a 381 mile race….
and then it can feel about like running the first 355 miles all over again!
“I have proven I can do it, but the finish is STILL SO FAR!”

With a little rest, and a monumental amount of will,
Matt will ascend Sand Mountain and earn his spot in the thrown.
We will sit in awe as he tells us stories from the lonely road.
We will imagine the sense of contentment that he experiences
right before our eyes…
But only Matt will know just exactly what it all means.

The back of the pack is likely struggling with what to do
about the roller coaster right now.
The climb up hillside trail may be the last obstacle that
could just flat stop them in their tracks and force them to
make that call to the meatwagon.
If that gear in their legs has been burned out by the 300 miles so far,
we will hate to do it,
but we can go scoop them up.

If they can manage the roller coaster,
the only question remaining will be one of time.
Sunday evening at 1930,
any remaining runners will be DNF’s.
60 hours for ~90 miles.

The HOTS is not done with them yet!

Categories: HOTS 2024