we drove thru the field from the front today.
jan drove from the back.
we met in the middle
and filled a couple of vans with the defeated.
of the 75 who left the giant peach thursday morning
59 runners remained on saturday.
we looked into those faces this morning
as we went thru the field
and they all had the same expression…
hurt, but not beaten.
all day long the clouds ahead of the storm kept rolling in.
each runner had to be watching them with some emotion.
everyone knows what they portend.
but there is not much to be done.
you check your pack and put your rain gear at the ready.
you try to make sure that the critical stuff is going to stay dry…
and you keep going.
some will have found places to get additional protection.
umbrellas, waterproof bags,
maybe even additional rain gear,
or clothes that will keep them warm even when wet.
but there are limits.
they cant hole up and wait for it to pass.
maybe the worst of it,
if they are in the right place at the right time.
but the cutoffs never stop.
not for heat
not for cold
not for tropical storms.
success or failure may well hinge on the ability to deal with the conditions.
there is a lot more to a journey run than just keeping the legs moving.
by late afternoon most had already experienced at least showers.
in a few places torrential downpours had created flash flooding.
tomorrow is supposed to bring 4-5 inches of rain over most of the course.
yet the 59 walk and run on.
how many will have to seek shelter and make that call before tomorrow’s dawn?
after two and a half days jim fleming is alone in the lead at 200 miles.
he was past murphy
and only about 24 miles from the start of the kimsey mountain highway.
jim and the rain are on a collision course.
doing kimsey at night in the rain is unimaginable.
there is lodging in ducktown,
a few miles before.
we can only wonder if he plans to wait there for the light.
i guess we will find out at morning checkin.
the next runner is now jim winn.
nearly 28 miles behind.
3 miles further back is kim durst.
those two are probably the only ones with a shot at catching fleming now.
they also are at least in a part of the course where there might be lodging available.
pity the ones up in the high country.
shelter is a long way away.
enjoy your warm, dry bed tonight.
59 lonely souls will not have that luxury.