vole stare toad race… 220 hour update
sorry for the parsity of updates over the last couple of days.
with all the storms most of the electronics have been safely stored…
and we have been dealing with a stream of finishers.
and that is really what the vole stare is about now.
no one is setting records,
they are achieving personal goals that cannot be measured.
the long race ends with a final 14 mile push.
a final set of landmarks to be etched into their memory
from kimball
under the interstate
across the blue bridge to no hope
on to the railroad tracks and past nickajack
the turn
and a final brutal climb up sand mountain
cheesegrater road
the gate
the cornfields
the woods
and finally
after "one more mile" the last time…
the rock.
they have run until there is nowhere else to run.
there it finally ends
with a shout
with a whimper
and oftentimes
with tears.
the impossible journey is over.
each one takes their place on the thrown
and has their moment in the spotlight.
it is their turn to talk
and our turn to listen.
as they tell their stories.
adding their threads to the tapestry
adding their chapter to the book of vol state.
they could talk for days
and never tell everything that happened.
i could write for days
and never tell all that they share…
the moments of despair
the moments of triumph
of terrible mistakes
and shining victories.
of lessons learned
and knowledge gained.
of a newfound confidence
in their own ability to meet any challenge…
and most of all of the experiences they had.
we have laughed until we cried,
as every incoming runner has tales of both hardship and joy
with a heavy dose of pure comedy.
the runner who sat on a guardrail over a steep hill
and lost one of his poles over the side….
after an ill conceived series of attempts to retrieve the original pole
resulted in both poles and the runner being stranded.
more vol staters came along
and failed in attempting to pull him up with a human chain
eventually the police were called to pull him out with a rope.
the day a monster thunderstorm rolled up behind the runners traveling between manchester and monteagle most of the stories were the same.
each runner was plugging along happily looking at clear skies ahead…
until a passing motorist advised them to take cover
and they looked back to see a black wall cloud bearing down on them.
vol staters cannot outrun wall clouds.
the ones out on the plateau were happier than the ones already climbing.
those were the ones that saw and heard boulders that were dislodged by the storm and rolled down the mountain..
the runner whose back was giving him trouble.
he bought two brooms and pulled the straw off.
then used the broomsticks as trekking poles to finish the race.
the runners who stripped down to minimal clothing to start the final push in 100 degree + heat, only to get hit by a thunderstorm that doused them with freezing cold rain and hail.
freezing in the wind and flirting with hypothermia they stopped at a dollar general store trying to buy winter clothes.
by the time they started up sand mountain the sun was back out and it was 100 degrees again.
i have t stop,
because more runners are coming in
and i want to hear their stories!

Categories: Vols2023