vol state 12-hour update
digging holes
the fascinating thing about a race like the vol state
is that no two years are the same.
one of the defining features of 2023 may turn out to be the 81 virgins who have been thrown into battle.
green troops need to be seasoned with veterans.
passing unnoticed were the bullets dodged today.
the fierce thunderstorm that was supposed to hit us on the ferry
ended up merely treating us to a spattering of rain
while the brunt of the storm hit just north of us.
the storm came thru on schedule,
but we passed thru a gap.
the resulting cloudy skies lasted almost until noon.
the heat index didnt even top 100 until the afternoon!
sitting at the stinky bridge taking 20 mile splits
we thought it was a delightful day…
compared to sitting there in rivers of sweat.
we were merely sticky.
first time runners could probably be forgiven for not recognizing a 103 degree day as being a day to get in big miles.
i will say this much;
this is a field we could not help feeling an affinity for.
so many runners i find myself rooting to see succeed
hoping to see them find the magic to overcome the many obstacles awaiting them on the open road.
the runner who made it to lexington last year before succumbing to inexperience…
and is back for another bite of the beast.
local runners who grew up watching the annual migration
and were inspired
as adults
to challenge the long road themselves.
former crewed finishers
cutting the safety lines
and striking out alone.
the smiling, cheerful faces
of those who have no idea how much worse it is likely to get
there was a lot of innocence on the ferry this morning.
and a lot of courage.
when the sun rises in the morning
its scorching rays will strike a tougher, wiser…
and smaller
band of warriors.
there were some casualties today.
in the days that follow there will be more.
but i sense something in this merry band.
i think they will close ranks and march on.
but they are going into tonight with some miles to make up.
it will be hard to sleep
waiting to find out what the vol staters can get done in the second 12 hours.
and the race up front will be equally as interesting.
chris varnadoe took the early lead and held it all day.
the name seemed familiar,
and a quick check showed him with some solid credentials.
more noteworthy,
he cut his teeth on the soupy air of the south carolina low country.
tennessee in july is not going to throw anything at him he hasnt seen before.
ken zemach from reno and sweden’s anders noren were 8 and 10 miles back in second and third.
zemach is not likely to be intimidated by heat,
but the humidity is probably new.
noren will not have grown accustomed to this kind of weather in sweden,
but he certainly did not look damaged by today…
however, bob hearn is still in the game.
and with the all-time fastest performance int the vol state he has to be included in the calculation.
while the other three were grabbing the top spots
bob took a significant break in gleason.
in the tactical part of the battle this is a leg up.
there are days of racing left to go
and sleep is going to come into play.
also not lost on us:
bob’s 12 hour split is only 2 miles short of what it was in the record year.
but the chakkenges are not only in front of him.
only 5 miles behind bob is a pack of 9 runners.
so the first 12 hours left us with more questions than answers.
but they are good questions!
good luck to those out on the dark and lonely roads!

Categories: Vols2023