72 hr update
(7.5 days to go)

No (wo)man’s land.

When all is said and done,
when the blisters have healed,
when the nightmares about getting up to move have abated.
When they’ve come back from being so deep within themselves on the open road…

The HOTS runners will think back
to the turning point of the journey.

Many of them will think back to the start of day 4.
Their bodies and minds are desperate.
The finish (heck, even Montgomery!) are impossibly far away.
They are in no (wo)man’s land.

But they are still out there (29 of them, anyway)
holding on.

As they near Montgomery,
the services get just a little closer together…
They will find themselves arriving at a store,
And see that, “gee, I still have Gatorade from the last store in my bottle, I didn’t run out 3 hours before I got here, AMAZING!!”

That switch flips and all of a sudden
what felt desperate for days…
becomes manageable.
Barely 😵‍💫😎
That sense of pride and strength
is one of the most satisfying things
one can experience.
For many of them,
it’s the “why?”

There are:
6 at the front. (pushing the pace in this inferno)
16 in the middle (solid soldiers, plowing away)
7 at the back (trying to lock in and reach that turning point)

Overnight, the race for The Rock got a little more interesting. Addison and John inched a little closer to Jim as they left Montgomery early in the morning.

The big city, where so many important things have happened, must have been impressive as those three fleet athletes pitter pattered through. It must have almost felt alien to them, after the first 2+ days crossing the rural divide.

The Heart of the South includes both the agricultural land, the lonely dark roads that used to be covered in cotton…and the urban areas where business and politics are the focus.

The middle of the pack will be within spitting distance of the Capitol this evening. The flavor of the run will change for them, too.

The back of the pack is doing incredible things.
Hanging on by a thread…ready for that turning point,
When what looks impossible creeps into view.

These runners are passing through
no (wo)man’s land,
one step at a time.

Learning about this place’s heart,
and their own.

Categories: HOTS 2024