it seems to be coming up on 0200 and all is quiet up here on the rock.

we have some finishers being toted down to the super 8 to wash their battered bodies

and get some serious sleep

(the first in nearly a week)


matt burke should be hitting castle rock road by now.

with any luck he will be here in about an hour.


there was a 9 mile gap behind him at last check-in

so the next runner should be calling from the blue bridge about any time.

i think i can also get a nap before that one arrives.


carl is taking a nap now,

so he can provide transport off the rock after matt has his moment of glory on the thrown.

its kind of a shame the only audience will be me.


but i dont know for sure how lively he will be.

a lot of the time these wee hour finishers are pretty wiped out.

not that the wee hours crew is exactly fresh and sharp.


we just have to keep someone rested enough to get runners down off the mountain.

we learned years ago that it is totally unsafe to let someone who finishes after dark try to drive.

so we ferry them down to the super 8 to get a room,

shower and sleep.

sometimes they just want to sleep in their car,

but i hate to see them do that.

there has been enough misery already!


for the staff the real vol state has begun.

only jan is left out there patrolling the road

and ready to make pickups if someone drops.


the rest of us are now devoted to finish line duty.

record the finishes

set the victor in the thrown

and give them their opportunity to tell their stories.

this is their time.

they have done the impossible

and for these few minutes

they are the center of the world

(at least on the rock)



very few will drop after we pass 5 days.

they have invested too much

to just give it all away

they have proven themselves too tough

to just get discouraged and quit.


from terrie and company,

back there staving off oprah

to the ones either in manchester or monteagle,

discarding their overnight gear

and girding their loins for that last push to the finish.

all the way to matt burke;

trudging down castle rock road

slowly eating away at the final miles,

this week has been a lifetime.


one week ago they were about to wake up and go board that bus.

one week ago the vol state looked so different.

one week ago,

the sight of a cooler beside the road was not enough to make them cry.

one week ago they were different people.


has it really only been a week?

the bus ride seems so remote,

that is more like something in a history book

than something they only just a week ago lived.


between boarding that bus and now has been a lifetime.


i didnt get to do an update last 12 hours.

to many things to do

and watching the race develop

we already knew that the home stretch would probably start tonight.

there were 71 runners in 92 miles last time i counted.

that amounts to from tonight

(was it tuesday night they started coming in continuously?)

until sunday morning

runners will come in an endless stream

sleep will come in naps.

meals will happen when they happen…


if they happen

(i have plenty of snacks in case they dont)


already i am in a different world.

there is no date except race day (day 6 is running down)

and no time except race time.


this is my vol state.

after the end of day 10 i can sleep.



just heard that matt barker has entered the gate.

i better get ready for company.

i have a great champion to greet!

Categories: Vols2021