vole stare toad race
4.5 day update
yes, it is late.
at 4.5 days we were up on the rock taking the time of third place peter strickland.
and i will have to hurry this along,
as we had 3 runners pick up trackers within 15 minutes.
that probably means more runners
for whom after 4 and a half days
they have to race the final 14 miles!
what a painful way to close out such a difficult journey.
what a glorious way to finish an epic adventure!
it was great this morning;
when john finally got up and staggered the final 7 miles
that johan had come back to the finish to greet him.
they share something now
that the rest of us can only imagine.
it wasnt just that incredible final marathon
or all those hours when both men were hammering
4-10 minutes apart.
it was the last two days
of watching each other
gauging each other
testing, probing,
trying to win this race,
and knowing that was the man to beat.
in the end it was johan who won
but john could walk away knowing he had given the full measure.
and out of that experience each of them share something special.
there is mutual respect
and even affection.
it was fitting that earlier in the race greg armstrong came out to see johan on the road.
but it was not a surprise.
it has only been a few years ago that those two locked up in a classic vol state bloodbath.
in putting everything they had out there
they came away with a bond
that outsiders cannot fully understand.
this is another part of the vol state.
that part where every finisher becomes a member of an exclusive club.
when they see a 314 sticker on a passing car
or spot another person wearing that distinctive blue jacket
it is a special feeling.
no matter when they ran
no matter what the time embroidered on the breast
they are like family.
you have an instant connection
a shared experience.
they have been places that few have gone
done things few are willing to do
and had experiences only the few willing to put it on the line will have.
there is a whole lot of life squeezed into those days between the ferry and the rock…
and not everyone will make it.

of the 113 who got off the ferry last thursday
21 have called for that ride in the meat wagon.
92 are left.
3 have made it to the rock.
3 are battling each other over the hills of no hope road right now.
and 86 more are spread out all the way back to hohenwald.
the leaders have fought their battles with each other
their day is done.
at the back 13 of them are in a life and death struggle with oprah
their battle is not even half over…
and in between every runner still moving is in the fight of their life.
every runner is writing a story for the ages
89 different adventures
but only a single goal….
make it to the rock.

Categories: Vols2022