HOTS 24 hour update:
now there are 80….
it is not my place to tell people what they cannot do.
if it was i would probably have told the first two drops;
"you are in over your head"
this is not an easy game.
as the saying goes;
"there is discomfort involved"
there are others i would have told;
"you are in over your head"
there have been many over the years.
and oftentimes i turn out to be right.
but people surprise you.
because this is not a physical game.
the physical part counts.
but no amount of physical ability will get you to the rock.
this is a mental game.
there is a certain mindset that is necessary.
and the mental part of the game will get you to the rock
even when the physical part is a train wreck.
the unlikeliest people excel in the crucible of the open road.
the delicate, fragile-looking woman
the big bear of a man
the ones who are too old
or too young.
too big
or too small…
they surprise you.because inside each of the special ones
there is this core of steel.
they are made different than other people.
pain does not matter.
none of it matters…
they are going to the rock.
faced with obstacles
they look only for the way thru.
with an objective too far away to comprehend
they immerse themselves in the moment.
when they are hurt
they patch the injury as best they can
and go on.
when they are hungry.
they think of other things
and go on.
when their eyes will not stay open
they sleep where they can
then get up
and go on
they watch the land pass slowly by
experiencing life at its most basic level
they laugh
and sometimes…
they cry.
but they go on
following the white line.
never wavering from their goal.
they are going to the rock.
and there is a savage joy in finding this band of steel inside yourself.
there is a peace that comes when life is reduced to its most basic elements.
the real world is too complex
the solutions to its problems too intangible.
when your issues are reduced to:
where will i find something to drink?
what will i eat?
when will i be able to steal a few minutes of sleep?
the problems are simple and the solutions clear.
there is a blessed simplicity to the demand to move
follow the white line that has no end.
move or die.
focus on the task at hand
and stay true to the course
or you, also, will end up boarding the meat wagon.
while every runner is writing an epic story
a tale of mythic proportions
there are two races going on
that draw us in like moths to a flame
and hold us spellbound
as they careen toward an uncertain end…
there is the race for survival.
darlene kresse, billy collier, diane taylor, nicole dernier…
and the grim reaper.
these have separated themselves.
the first four in what will now become a battle every 12 hours
to stay ahead of the relentless reaper.
the reaper will never falter
will never slow
will never show the least mercy.
they race to reach the rock
before the reaper takes them down
and relegates them to the meat wagon.
last night they all 4 held strong
and pushed ahead to put a little breathing room between them and their nemesis.
breathing room that will evaporate should they falter.
today they face another day of uncertainty.
another challenge under the watchful eye of a cruel sun.
and at the front
the strong and the fast battle
against one another
not to merely finish
but to finish before all others…
to win the crown.
bob hearn seized control during the night.
he raced down the highway and thru johnson city.
he cut over to pass thru historic jonesborough
passing the silent buildings in the deepest night.
he crossed the miles of roller coaster hills to reach greeneville
past the city gate
past the cannonball church
thru the picturesque downtown
and back out onto the long highway heading east
as the first rays of the sun came over the horizon.
at 24 hours he had a commanding lead with 111 miles.
but so many miles remain to be covered.
so many sunsets and sunrises yet to come.
so many challenges yet to face.
john clarke passed kyle kalbus during the night
and is now 16 miles behind hearn
between limestone and greeneville.
kalbus is still there
3 miles back in limestone.
these three have separated themselves from the pack.
but not so far behind
the next tier of runners chases
waiting to gobble up anyone who falters
strung out in the 6 miles between johnson city and jonesborough:
stafford, barker, chapman, durst.
hendricks, mueller, jackson, ratliff;
a sleep break could drop any of the leaders half a dozen places in a matter of hours.
the race for the win is taking shape.
but nothing has been decided.

Categories: HOTS