36 hour update: vol state

they’re all gonna cry
once again the weather dealt the vol staters a big break…
unless they were trying to plan.
rather than turning the heat up all afternoon
a line of thunderstorms swept thru the field.
for the runners that was a hot or miss.
some runners got battered;
gale force winds and rain in buckets.
others got but only a few spattering drops.
we got lucky while picking up dropped runners,
and only saw threatening clouds and a few light showers.
on the way back we drove thru rivers of runoff,
and saw some angel stations that had been demolished.
mute testimony that we had dodged a few bullets!

for everyone the temperature dropped to dam near comfortable.
the humidity is still over 95%
and the dew point in the mid 70’s.

the only losers today were those who had planned their effort to sleep thru the heat of the afternoon.
those were the ones who took their breaks in the afternoon
expecting the 108 degree forecast to come true.
you can be sure they did not want to sleep away some of the best running that will be seen all week…
but they had already committed themselves by not sleeping earlier.
the mercurial tennessee summer weather betrayed them.
this is a good year for the vol staters.
some may not believe that
because even in a good year
after 36 hours everyone is hurt.
after looking invincible for more than a day,
chris varnadoe has been limping since this morning.
we found him near a pulloff this morning
and he showed us a badly inflamed shin.
the important thing was that he did not seem discouraged.
and he is still moving with resolve.
as long as the runner is on their feet there is hope.

he still has several days to experience a resurgence!
ken zemach was moving strong when we saw him.
it wasnt that far from a pulloff,
but we let his surge continue uninterrupted.
never break the stride a vol stater who has found his rhythm.
those rock bottom lows dont last forever,
but neither do the soaring highs!
bob hearn was still in 3rd.
but only 6 miles behind the leader.
he was also moving well when we went past.
and there was no place good to pull off anyway.

the lead pack will be passing the halfway marker sometime around midnight.
for all that has happened in the past day and a half.
even the front runners are not yet halfway done!

anders noren has fallen to 14 miles behind the leaders
we got to talk to his crew for a little bit,
he is moving well
and he seems in good spirits,
despite nursing a bad foot.
but that is how it is a day and a half in.
everyone is hurting somewhere.
feet, ankles, hips.
blisters, sunburn, heat rash.
nausea, diarhea
unrequited hunger
or the inability to eat.
everyone is dealing with multiple issues.
the vol state is a race
and it is a battle of attrition.
it is a test of pain management
and the ability to endure.
to reach the rock requires everything the runner has to give…
and just a little bit more.
back at the tail end of the long, thin line
are the runners whose race will eventually be with oprah.
right now they are all in good shape.
the last surviving runner
(and 9 of them are already gone)
is 7 miles ahead of the clicking stiletto heels of the relentless celebrity.
but oprah will never waver.
she will keep on coming all day and all night.
until the very last mile.
they will have to hold her off for another eight and a half days.
from the first runner to the last
this thing is far from over.

Categories: Vols2023