(yes, we missed an update, last night was a bit busy)
The eighth day saw 18 finishers up on The Rock….and perhaps just as importantly, ZERO drops.
In fact, as of the 8 day check-in, we haven’t had a drop in over 37 hours! This despite one of the most epic volstate navigation errors in recent memory.
Bernadette and Natalia had linked up several days ago with similar paces and goals. They somehow managed to pass through both Manchester and Monteagle at times that weren’t convenient to rest, so went 48 hours without sleep since Shelbyville.
Apparently they tried to check-in from the blue bridge, but their road addled brains used the wrong number and we didn’t get word until we actually saw them on 156 in New Hope.
We said hello as we drove up to The Rock late last night, expecting we’d see them shortly after midnight at the finish.
Around 0230 Sergio and Rich came in…”no, we didn’t pass the women…no idea where they are.”
Then Kendra and her crew arrived about 0400….”Bernadette and Natalia? No, we didn’t pass them, where could they be?”
Harold Donnelly arrived at 0430, with no word of the ladies that were now about 4 hours overdue on an approximately 8 mile stretch of road…
We drifted in and out of uncomfortable camp chair snooze until 0600 came and went, Danny Warren finished, and he and his family shared stories as the sun came up…
With only a couple turns available in the last 10k to make a mistake on, we guessed they’d either missed the turn up the mountain, “nah, then you head out over the causeway and it’d be obvious you were in the wrong spot….” Or they’d skipped the turn on to 132, “doesn’t make sense, there’s an abandoned gas station not too far that way that would remind them to take out their maps!”
We finally recieved a call at 0645, “hey Carl, we’re alive, on Castle Rock road…we went through Bryant, Alabama and had to take a few naps.”
Turns out, Bernadette had been drifting in and out of sleep walking for the entire night, and Natalia had been managing the navigation. When they reached the top of sand mountain with less than 4 miles to go, they noticed the party store sign and Bernadette begged Natalia, “don’t let us miss the turn, it’s coming up!”
Natalia finally succumbed and entered her own state of sleepwalking just moments later…. The women trudged forward at a snail’s pace, awakening once in while to check for road signs or catch a few winks on a concrete driveway.
In a stroke of brilliance, Natalia had started her GPS tracker at the base of sand mountain, knowing that it was 10k from there to the finish. When the watch read 10k and they still hadn’t found the turn on to 132, they were sure something was amiss. They admitted to one another that they were quite sleepy, and saw the Bryant, Al post office. Another nap was imperative, so they went inside and curled up on the floor.
Awakening, they started out south for a ways, before Natalia’s mind clicked in and decided something was wrong. They did a slow motion 180 as the sun came up, headed North and made their way back.
By some miracle, they timed their correction perfectly and managed to squeeze in at the very end of the 8th day.
48 hours to go.
36 runners still on course.
We want 80 finishers!