The Last Annual Vol State Road Race 2009

The Last Annual Vol State Road Race is upon us and begins in Dorena Landing, Missouri and finishes at Castle Rock, Georgia.

Posted on the Ultralist:
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 18:39:22 +0000
From: lazarus lake
Subject: the greatest vol-state ever

I am disconsolate that my health will prevent me from running the vol-state this year.
With a dozen entries already (and more possible) there are no fast guys with crews entered…. none.
The entire field is running solo-unaided!

I cannot see anyone breaking 6 days under those conditions and the distribution of cities and motels along the route virtually guarantees that the field will repeatedly spread out and compress as the race progresses.
In a race that would be an epic adventure just to finish at all, the last 2 or 3 days will be fascinating as people try to guess the intentions of others and endeavor to choose daily starting times and finishing points that give them the best chance to win.
Do I run a killer day & try to get a motel/city ahead tonight? Or do I stop here & try to get back on the road before my opponents tomorrow? And how will my strategy today affect my options and possibilities tomorrow?
We may well have runners running every step of the way up sand mountain, not for pride as in the past, but because they don’t want to go through a week of hell only to lose the race in the last two miles.
Who are the favorites? Maybe John Price (solo unaided record holder)? Hmmm, if he weren’t running from the finish to the start before the race, he’d be the easy favorite. Maybe Rita Barnes, we all know that is one tough lady, and there is a real advantage to having done it before. Maybe one of the other seasoned veterans (albeit vol-state newbies). And we can’t forget the guys who got bloodied last year without finishing. There will be some extra determination, or else we wouldn’t see them returning.

One thing is sure EVERYONE will get to taste times of the darkest despair…and moments of soaring hope. every runner will have long hours of doubt will come to times when they are sure that there is nothing left to give only to find themselves later running as if there was no such thing as pain or fatigue.
Ultimately the challenge for each runner will be to face down their own inner selves. They will strip away every vestige of pretense, until they must recognize and conquer their own physical & mental limitations.
It will be at once, the most agonizing of hells and the most uplifting of experiences.

It is hard to believe I will get to witness all this for free.

As if the regular race wasn’t enough, we have a 2-man relay this year. I’m not sure that a 2-man relay isn’t the hardest way to do the vol-state. Larger relays have had good success but no 2-man relay has ever finished.
At first glance, you might think a 2-man relay would only be half as hard as running the whole way. And maybe it would be… if you weren’t crewing during your breaks from running.
It gets worse if you stop to rest when you aren’t running because then the running guy is crewless.
2-man relays have tried everything from alternating miles, to running 12 hours at a pop. No matter how they have sliced It, by 150 or 200 miles both runners are begging the other guy to take longer legs, because the runs are tooo long, and the rests are tooo short.

I cant wait to take that ferry ride across the Mississippi. Even though I know I am not going the whole way, I can remember what it is like. The cool early morning breeze in your face as the ferry fairly skims across the surface of the river. The far bank slowly growing larger as it gets closer. The nervous chatter of those about to suffer. The cold fear of what you are about to face. The awful finality when the ramp scrapes against the landing and we are all disgorged into hell. Stepping off the boat to know that only two possible fates await – days of suffering… or failure.

Here are those who have signed up. Brave heroes or foolhardy souls… you decide.

Byron Backer-SC
Rita Barnes-OH
Dan Fox-OH
Kent Gallup-NC
Cyndi Graves-TX
Scott Maxwell-FL
Abigail Meadows-TX
Mike O’Melia-AL
John Price-VA
Don Winkley-TX
Marvin Skagerberg-CO
Richard Burrell-FL
Patrick Binienda & ??? -GA (2-man relay)
Gary Cantrell-TN (poser)
Susan R(eynolds)-NM (journalist)

Race starts July 16th and runners progress can be followed on Google Maps
Map of the route can be found at

Theres an event write up: The Last Annual Vol State Road Race 2004 by Mark K. Henderson The home of multiday running news and events.

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