Nearly all day we waited for the next finisher, Salt Shack snuck under 5.5 days. The cagey veteran missed his lofty time goal, but still managed his 5th! volstate finish.
The top 10 are in. But 75 runners are still strung out over the last 160 miles. Doing the work necessary to get that same finish!
Kim Durst has put together a solid sub-6 day 500km, as long as nothing crazy happens. and we look to have another 5 runners with outside shots at rounding out the sub-6 crew for 2018. I’d imagine the sub-6 is much more important to that crew than the individual places.
We’ve had 29 drop so far. Our elder statesman, JP has posited that the combination of heat and humidity took a heavier toll than normal. Any of those drops that come back next year to shoot for a finish will find out, though, that they’ll have to do all those miles they did this year, again….and then they can make further progress towards finishing.
The ones who hang on, despite the bone crunching pummeling their feet are taking, despite the constantly parched throats, despite the blistering sun and moist blistered feet….those that hang on despite all these obstacles, they will have a finish and one of the most sublime finishes available to ultrarunners for less than 11 days of effort.
It is simply incredible, over the years, to see the levels of discomfort that can be tolerated in pursuit of a volstate completion…perhaps nearly as incredible as the feeling of overcoming that pain and achieving a finish up on The Rock. After the elite sub-5 runners, these are regular people, with regular lives, who have decided to take the time to see what they can do when life’s normal comforts are squashed like a bug on the pavement.
The Manwarings, pushing their stroller past the Bench of Despair on their 30th wedding anniversary celebration…with calves spasming and toes blistering…are they hanging on?
Jameelah, Fran and Ruth in Lewisburg….are they hanging on? Can they take the blows and make it?
The Scandanavians, here from their cool climates to run this Tennessee gauntlet…..can they conquer the demons out on this course?
For those still workin’ on the yellow brick road, a finish is attainable, as long as they can hang on through the brutality.