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Run It Fast At The 2013 Last Annual Vol State 500K

Last Annual Vol State 500K 2012

The Last Annual Vol State 500K begins this Thursday, July 11th. What is the Last Annual Vol State 500K? It’s a 314 mile foot race across Tennessee…in July. Because running 314 miles isn’t crazy enough, you have to do it in the refreshing heat and humidity of the south in the summer!

The Last Annual Vol State 500K is the brain child of Lazarus Lake (Gary Cantrell). It starts in Dorena Landing, Missouri with a boat ferry ride, runs across Tennessee, and ends atop a mountain at Castle Rock, Georgia. The runners can do this crewed or uncrewed (Screwed) or as a relay. If you are doing it in the Screwed category, you must carry everything that you will need and can only accept handouts/help from the kindness of strangers.

This year, 6 Run It Fast Club members will be running the Last Annual Vol State 500K, 3 veterans of the race and 3 newbies. 2 RIFers will be doing this crewed and 4 will be Screwed. Think only super humans can do this kind of run? Think again! Below you will meet 6 every day people…just like you and me…who happen to be embarking on a 314 mile journey to see what they are made of. Check out their stories below and then check the bottom of the post for links to follow them.



Diane has completed 2 Last Annual Vol State 500Ks and will be running her 4th this year (her first attempt was derailed by blisters). She will be running it uncrewed again this year. The past 2 years (since running 314 miles across Tennessee was not enough), Diane drove to the finish line and started her race early by running towards the start line. Last year, she was picked up in Lewisburg as others headed to the start so she added about 100 miles on to her journey in 2012! We asked Diane why she keeps coming back and she said: “I can’t explain it but I would like to do it every year as long as I’m physically able. There are others who have run/are running this who are in there 70s so I hopefully I will be able to do it into my 70s as well.”

Since Diane is running this Screwed and has to carry her own pack with what she needs, we asked her if she brought anything extra with her. She said this year “everything in the pack is just what I need. It weighs 9 1/2 pounds without water and another 6ish pounds with water so it will weigh about 16 pounds when full. Last year, I carried/wore a badge that Shannon (RIF #171 Shannon Burke – see below) made to honor our friend Angela Ivory.”

Screwed runners are not allowed to accept help from anyone they know or from the crews of other runners but can accept help from random strangers, Road Angels. We asked Diane if she had encountered any Road Angels and she said: “many times strangers stopped to give me water/soda and twice Road Angels asked me what I needed and then went to get water and bring it back to me.”

Next we asked Diane what she learned about herself while running the Last Annual Vol State 500K and she said: “I guess you learn when you want something bad enough, you are capable of doing a lot more than you thought. If you really, really want it, it can happen.”

Finally, we asked Diane if she had any advice for newbies to the VS500K or for anyone who was thinking about doing it and she said: “Tell everybody that they can do this. You don’t have to be a super athlete or runner. Anyone can do it.”

Diane used herself as a reference for that last questions, saying that if she, who was an average person, could do this then anyone can. We don’t know about you, but we think Diane is pretty amazing! Good luck Diane!



Shannon will be running her 3rd Vol State 500K this year and will be running uncrewed. The first year she ran it, she hadn’t even done a 50 Mile or 100 Mile race yet! She didn’t finish that first year but came back determined last year and finished in 8:13:13:36. We asked Shannon why she decided to run this race when her longest previous run was only 42 miles (only with a race like this can you say “ONLY” and 42 miles in the same sentence!) and she said: “I didn’t look at it as 500K as much as a grand adventure.  Laz (Gary Cantrell) has a way of writing that sucks you into his world.  I followed Vol State during 2010 and knew I wanted to try it.  And I am gullible and have a group of fellars that encourage me to try these races.”

Then we asked her why she keeps coming back and she said: “Vol State truly is a race that anyone can do.  It all depends on how bad you want it.  After I failed in 2011, I spent the next year wishing for the ferry to get my chance at redemption.  (It was a really long year!)  It is truly a journey run and you learn a lot about yourself.”

And finally, we asked her what the best and worst parts of the race are for her and she said: “The best: reading a Laz post that lifts your spirits when they were bottomed out, the open road, learning so much about yourself and your strength within, napping on a porch swing after a wonderful lunch, and the chance to stop when you reach the rock.  The worst:  going to bed knowing you have to get up the next day and go again, relentless rain that chases you under a bridge just to get a little bit of silence, and the pain and despair you find at times and don’t feel like you will ever reach the rock.”

But we do know that Shannon reached the rock and we are sure she will again this year! Good luck Shannon! You can follow Shannon on Twitter: @s4121burke and you can check out her blog Yellow Bus Adventures.



Josh has run over 90 marathons and ultras and will be running his 3rd Vol State 500K with a crew supporting him. Last year he was 2nd Overall and shaved more than 2 days off his previous year’s time! We asked him what makes Vol State 500K different from the many other races he’s done and he said: “It’s a grand epic adventure that gets in your blood like a bad virus and never leaves it even once the race is over and you’ve finished it. You think about it almost daily and the bond you make with your fellow Vol State runners is almost a fraternal bond that brings about a special spark when you see a VS alum at another race.”

Next, we asked Joshua about his huge PR last year and if it was training or mental preparation that made the difference and he said: “We had some crew issues in year one and I went in just wanting to finish the race. I was conservative and I kept an eye on my crew, my 15-year old cousin, as much as he kept an eye on me. We had a grand time and we both learned a lot along the way. I was a stronger runner going into my second attempt, but more so I knew what to expect and the layout of the course having run it before. I also attacked it like one of the wild dogs you sometimes meet along the way.”

Then we asked him if the running 314 miles seemed less intimidating after having done it twice and he said: “At this point I know what it takes to finish it, but I keep raising the bar of what I expect out of myself and what time goals I set for myself. It’s 314 miles no matter how you slice it. If you are going to be intimated by a race before it starts then it’s likely this one or you’re an android.”

Finally, we asked Joshua what lessons he’s learned from Vol State 500K that he’s been able to apply to other races/life experiences and he said: “Mental toughness, physical toughness, blister toughness…about every form of toughness imaginable. The downside is that almost every race since Vol State is a bit of a let down, because Vol State is such an epic adventure.”

We are excited to watch Joshua tear it up out there this year! He’s a beast! Good luck Josh! You can follow his adventures on Twitter: @bayou or on his Facebook page: UltraJoshua. Also, Joshua is raising money for charity: water and if you would like to donate to his campaign, click here: 2013 Vol State 500K Endurance Run. In 2011, Joshua and RIF #2 Naresh Kumar (@iamarunr) raised $6,205 while running VS500 that year and they helped fund a well in Ethiopia! Let’s help him top that this year!



Dallas has run many, many marathons, ultras, and Ironman races. He’s qualified for Boston numerous times and holds a boat load (58 and counting) of State Records for ages 63 to 72 in Tennessee for everything from the 5K to the marathon. He will be running his first Vol State 500K this year and he is doing it uncrewed.

We asked Dallas why he decided to take this challenge on and he said: “The answer is I don’t think I know why. I am always ready for adventure & a new experience & VS certainly is that. What I don’t like to face is that I may be seeking redemption for failing on a similar run in Spain. That failure was a spirit breaker in its abject totality. I was whipped. As broken ad Cool hand Luke. It haunts me yet & I guess I’m looking for a 2nd chance.”

And since everyone can use a bit of luck, we asked Dallas if he was taking a good luck charm with him and he said: “I hadn’t thought about that til now, but actually I am taking a good luck charm, a pair of Kalenji socks I bought on that same Spain trip. Practically every race I’ve run since, I’ve worn those socks, dozens & dozens. They seem indestructible & I’ve always said they were the best socks I ever owned. Not too romantic, I’ll admit, but when I was deciding on socks they had to go in. They connect this race to my failure in Spain.”

Since Dallas first answered that last question, he was given a good luck charm to carry by his daughter which we think is appropriate for the VS500:

Finally, we asked Dallas if he was nervous or excited about any part of this journey he was starting on and he said: “I’m not nervous. Strange to say – because I’m quite timid – I’ve never been nervous before a race. I am surely not bragging about that but merely expressing reality and a bit of amazement at it. I AM anxious, anxious in the sense that I want to see what will happen. Kinda like after a marathon finally starts and you say to yourself, finally dammitt we can run. This race holds many mysteries for me. A big component is the dirtbag-life on the road. Separate from the mere running is the continual foraging for food, water and shelter. All that is a problem in itself and I am curious to see how it all plays out.”

We cannot wait to hear all about the adventures Dallas has out there and are sure it would make for a great book! (If you don’t know, Dallas is an accomplished writer and a wonderful storyteller. You can find links to his books on his blog Turnaround and follow him on Twitter: @smithbend)



Diane is a racing machine. She just recently completed her SECOND round of marathons in 50 States. She will be running her first Vol State 500K this year with the help of a crew. We asked her why she took on this challenge and she said: “Why..actually I’ve been asking myself this too..ha,ha. Actually, RIF has been instrumental in having me challenge myself. With this in mind Vol State offered me a challenge totally out of my comfort zone. I’m not afraid of not finishing but would regret if I didn’t try. That said, I will take it day by day learning much about my threshold as well as the wonderful adventures in ultra endurance running.”

Next, we asked her what she was most excited and/or nervous about and she said she was: “Most excited about the knowledge I will gain learning so much more from some fascinating very accomplished ultra runners. What I’m most nervous about…everything! I’m such a rookie here. But thankful for the many people helping me on this journey. Most importantly my guardian angel crew chief Phil Min (RIF #286). None of this would have been possible had he not offered to crew me, giving up his scheduled marathon and extra days to be part of this epic event. I hope he’ll still call me friend when this is all over. “

Lastly, Diane had this to say about the coming days: “Also worried I’ll get lost. This is an unmarked course. I get lost on my last loop of a 9 times around course! 🙂 One thing I know for sure…I’m going to laugh and I’m going to cry. None of this would have been experienced had it not been for the gentle push by some in this wonderful Run It Fast family.”

We know Diane is going to be just fine! And we are excited that she is taking on this challenge. Go Diane!



David will be running his first Vol State 500K this year and he will be doing it uncrewed. He’s run almost 100 marathons and didn’t start running until he was 52. Not only does he run, but he raises money for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation as well. You can learn more about David on his website Run David Run.

We asked David why he decided to do VS500 and he said: “I only decided about 10 days ago to do this race. When I did the Jackal Marathon series a couple of weeks ago, some of my close enablers, oh, I mean friends, explained to me why I needed to run this race.”

Next we asked David if he had done anything like this before and he said: “The longest race I have done so far is Camrades (54 miles) twice. I plan to do my 1st 100 mile racin in August – the Leadville 100.”

Finally, we asked him what he was most nervous and excited about the next 314 miles and he said: “I’m most nervous about having my 1st DNF. I am most excited about running a new race with my friends and running further than I have ever run before.”

Good luck David! We have no doubt you will do great and that this will be great training for your next big adventure! (David is planning to go for the World Record for hiking the Appalachian Trail in June 2014 – you can find more info about that on his website as well).


I hope you’ll join us in wishing good luck to all of our Run It Fast Club members and all the others running the Last Annual Vol State 500K. Once again, it starts at 7am Central Time on Thursday, July 11th. We will be posting daily blogs/updates here on Run It Fast so make sure you check back here or follow us on Twitter @runitfast. You can also do a Twitter search on the hashtag #VS500 to see all the tweets about this year’s Last Annual Volstate 500K.

You can also like the Last Annual Vol State 500K Facebook page here: Last Annual Vol State Road Race.

And finally, you can also check on the runners at this link to the Last Annual Volstate 500K Spreadsheet & Map. It will be updated twice a day with each runners position/miles as they head to the finish.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Who knows, maybe next year people will be asking you “You’re going to run how far?” 🙂

[photos courtesy of Joshua Holmes, Naresh Kumar, and Lisa Gonzales]

Posted in Running, THE CLUB, Ultra Marathon, Vol StateComments (0)

San Bruno Mountain 50Mile Buckle 2013

San Bruno Mountain 50 Mile Buckle (2013)

This is the buckle for the San Bruno Mountain 50 Mile that was held on February 24, 2013 in Daly City, California.

Nice and shiny buckle! Congrats to RIF #2 Naresh for toughing it out and finishing the 50 Mile!


[medal submitted by RIF #2 Naresh Kumar, follow him on Twitter @iamarunr and Instagram @iamarunr]

Posted in Bling, Buckles, Featured, THE CLUB, Ultra MarathonComments (0)

Run It Fast – runitfast on Instagram

20 Runners You Should Be Following on INSTAGRAM

Here is a compilation of twenty very different and diverse runners that you should be following on Instagram. They are runners of all levels from all over the world. They all have very lively Instagram feeds and are worth a follow.

If you have someone you believe we should have included then drop a comment below with your suggestion and we’ll check them out.

1. Steve Clemons (@vo2_max)

Trail runner and adventurer living in paradise (Hawaii) and sharing his world and his travels with his family through envy inducing photos.

2. Melissa Middleton (@melissamiddleton)

Talented ultramarathoner who always has her iPhone in it’s holster and ready to capture that perfect nature shot during one of her intense ultramarathons.

3. Joshua Holmes (@joshuaholmes)

Extreme ultrarunner and founder of Runitfast.com that Instagrams frequent photos of his training, racing, children, friends, travels and interesting people he meets from across the globe.

4. Catra Corbett (@dirtdiva33)

Hot body, extreme-inked runner whose Instragrams are as fun and colorful as her skin and adventures.

5. Scott Jurek (@scottjurek)

One of the greatest ultramarathons of all-time. He uploads beautiful photos of his mountain runs and food, but Scott doesn’t Instragram all that much. Just 106 photos in the past 56 weeks.

6. Ashley Ringo Walsh (@ashruns100s)

Many beautiful photos of the unique and scenic places that Ashley runs in the deep South. She Instragrams a lot and rarely disappoints with her steady stream of uploads.

7. Carlos Henrique Silva (@carlossilva07)

International runner from San Paulo, Brazil. His photos show a lot of life, fun, run, and beautiful sights from his native Brazil.

8. Cecilia Santos (@ceci_run)

Inked Puerto Rican ultramarathoner from North Georgia that runs challenging races, lives a diverse life, and has the coolest ‘ULTRA’ tattoo on the planet.

9. Andy Baldwin (@drandybaldwin)

Dr. Andy from ‘The Bachelor’ fame shows he’s not just a pretty face but very serious about charity, health, being fit, and endurance sports in his Instagram photos.

10. Norma Bastidas (@ultrarunwild)

Accomplished ultramarathoner who posts tons of inspirational message-grams mixed with some training and race photos.

11. Gary Robbins (@garyrobbins)

Canadian ultramarathoner who is a multiple winner of the extremely tough HURT 100 ultramarathon in Honolulu. Beautiful photos from snow-capped mountains to tropical beaches can be found in his feed.

12. Leigh Marsh (@msprincessleigh)

Disney princess masquerading as a runner. Leigh’s photos are fun and filled with lots of bling and tiaras. Guaranteed to make you smile when you see how happy she is running.

13. Ian Sharman (@sharmanian)

Super speedy (sometimes costumed) marathoner and ultra runner sharing fun pics of running, costumes, travels, his pups, and beer & food.

14. Lisa Gonzales (@runlikeacoyote)

RIF #5 and regular contributor to Run It Fast who races often and posts amazing photos from all over Southern California. Easily the most skilled photographer on this list.

15. Josh Cox (@josh_cox)

An elite marathoner with an eclectic mix of Instagrams that are all over the map with no real pattern or recognizable rhythm, but that will suck you in and have you hitting that like/heart button on the next one of his that pops up.

16. Pavement Runner (@pavementrunner)

Bay Area runner sharing sights, music, and motivations as he runs this year (2013 miles in 2013) in and around San Francisco, CA.

17. Naresh Kumar (@iamarunr)

A combination of the adventure of Indiana Jones, mixed with the heart of Gandhi, combined with the daring antics of Evil Knievel and his Instragrams reflect just that.

18. Colin Cooley (@runwicked)

Wicked SoCal boy with a lot of sun, surf, run, and fun pics.

19. XPlantRunner (@xplantrunner)

Runner with a heart transplant who is using his second chance to do a little trail running and share his adventures on the trails around England’s Lake District.

20. Krissy Moehl (@krissymoehl)

Ultra runner and race director who shares lots of trail and race pics that make you want to sign up for a race immediately!

You can follow Run It Fast on Instagram @RunItFast to see photos of runners we admire, Run It Fast-Club members, and repost of the best running photos we come across.

We also feature other runners on Instagram on our feed, who tag their running photos with the hash tag #runitfast, to help us find their photos.

Posted in Half Marathon, Marathon, Running, Ultra MarathonComments (8)


Day 10: 2012 Last Annual Vol State Live Blog

We are getting down to the wire and there are still 2 runners on the course! Diane is looking good to make the 10 day cutoff but Marvin…well, he hasn’t given up! And I think that is so awesome. Please join me in sending them all the positive Run It Fast vibes you have as they make their way through these last few miles!

I’ll try to stay post as many updates as we get for Diane and Marvin so check back to see how they are doing.  If you didn’t get a chance to read the live blog for any of the previous 9 days, you can check them out here:

Day 1      Day 2      Day 3     Day 4       Day 5      Day 6       Day 7       Day 8       Day 9

And don’t forget, you can always:

-See what Joshua (@bayou) is up to on twitter or search the tag #VS500 on twitter.
-Check out The Last Annual Vol State Road Race page on Facebook.
-Check out the Vol State 2012 Map to see where the runners are (updated 2x per day w/ last location).
-Carl Laniak is adding photos to his album if you’d like to check those out as well:  Vol State 2012 Album
-Naresh is at the Vol State now and taking photos! Check it out: Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album 

So far today:

Message from Lisa: Ok, Vol State is done but I’m going to keep posting Marvin updates to this last blog. I don’t know about you but I am so inspired by him and his journey this year. I will be following him all the way to the rock!

Ultrarunningmom is also posting Marvin’s journey (with pictures) here: Ultrarunningmom.blogspot.com

Message from Lisa: I’ve never met Marvin but he has inspired me no end during the past week and a half! What incredible determination in the face of so many obstacles! I am so happy for him! Congratulations Marvin from all of us here at Run It Fast!

Email from Carl at 2:12 pm 

11days 6 hrs 46 min 53 sec

12 marathon distances in 11 days….in july in Tennessee.
(pic from mrs laz)


Email from Naresh at 2:06 pm

And he has finished

Email from Naresh at 1:35 pm

He is in the corn fields right now!!!

Email from Carl at 1:05 pm

Marv and stu on castle rock road

Update on Marvin from Laz at 8:38 am

vol-state update 20.2- a place for old men

marvin is across the tennessee river bridge; approx 304 miles done.
10 to go.
what a journey.
he came heat trained,
instead got days of rain…
his feet were destroyed
(if you havent seen the picture, someone should post a link)
i thought he should quit.
but marv & stu consulted with each other,
and decided to go on.
during their struggles to reach hohenwald (only 144 miles in)
i was sure he should quit.
but a visit to a clinic in hohenwald gave the old man team new life.
that was the first time stu (stupid to wise-ass telephones) told me;
“marv really wants to finish this. he wants to do ‘one more big thing.’ and i really want to see him do it.”
i stood in awe as they fought back against the time limit,
whittling away their deficit.
and just when it looked like they had it….
the rains returned.
and marvin’s feet bore the brunt.
as i “watched” their terrible struggle from shelbyville (225) to manchester (250)
once again, i thought they should quit.
my “pep talks” centered around not endangering anyone’s health.
but the old men never took their eyes off the prize.
and mile by painful mile they fought on.
it wasnt until they reached the top of monteagle
that i knew they were really going to do it.
against all odds.
in the face of unimaginable adversity.
two old men were going to combine their determination.
as a team they were going to do ‘one more big thing.’
but the vol-state is brutally unforgiving.
even when you know you can make it, it still has to be done the hard way.
there were still 42 miles of long, slow, painful effort to take care of.
workmanlike, unflinching, the old man team set about doing it.
this morning stu called to tell me they were “over the bridge.”
vol staters instantly know what that means.
the only sweeter words are “on the rock.”
as stu told me;
“you dont have to rush. we arent making a young man’s final push.”
he was talking 6 hours for those last 10 miles…
including the climb up sand mountain,
and (of course) the corn maze.
i dont care how long it takes,
i just want to be there.
it ought to be quite a sight.
usually we have carl, or naresh (young men)
to make sure the wobbly finishers dont topple off the cliff.
today i guess there will only be me and stu and marv.
i think we will get it done.
there was a movie a few years back.
some depressing thing about over the hillers.
it was called “no place for old men.”
there wont probably ever be a movie about marv and stu’s epic adventure.
but if there was, it would have to be called;
“a place for old men.”

Email from Stewart at 4:52 am 

we are here in s. pittsburg, waiting for marvin.
abi and lillie are sleeping in their car, and i am outside watching for the maestro
he may need to sleep here, but i hope he can push to across the bridge first, because the traffic here is fierce and merciless a nd there aint no easy way to get to the bridge. the destructions say basically, good luck you are on your own.
i will call gary when he gets across the bridge, with an estimate of six to eight hours  for him to reach the rock.
its about five am cdst now….best estimate two pm finish time.
what a journey!! 

Email from Stewart at 6:22 pm


marvin is on the road again, with a 50k left at this time. he slept in the shade through the heat of the day. i predict and hope for a good night, headed for jasper.
its a wonderful experiment….lets see what happens

Email from Stewart at 1:55 pm

Re: vol-state update 20- ten daze in tenn… see?

we are havin fun now counting down the miles….
34 to go!

Update of runner status by Laz at 7:40 am

 vol-state update 20- ten daze in tenn… see?

so now we are down to marvin and stu.
the passage of day 10 finds them just past monteagle,
at mile 277.

they have broken oprah,
and taken the vol-state into overtime.

talked with marvin a while,
he is in good spirits & remains focused on the rock.
hopefully getting his feet re-dressed will be enough to get him one more good day.

as he is on top of the mountain,
the proper cheer is;
“onward, and downward!”


Email from Stewart at 6:08 am


marvin at top of monteagle mtn.

49 hrs to make 40 miles

Email from Stewart at 2:54 am (even though he won’t hit the 10 day mark, Marvin is still going! How cool is that!)

marvin update

marvin is clear of pelham
he is going through a good spell
looking forward to climbing the mountain to monteagle,
not so much to the downhill, which scrunches your toes.

abi, after some sleep, will head this way, and we will dry and dress his feet.

he is a little behind the monday am finish schedule, but ahead of a tuesday finish.

he has a real bad foot, and is very very tired, but he is trudging along.

Posted by Naresh at 11:56 pm

Email from Ultrarunningmom at 11:20 pm

#14 – Diane Taylor

9 days, 16 hours, 2 minutes, 1 second

Email from Naresh at 11:08 pm

Re: vol-state update 19- 9.5 days

Diane is lost in the corn field. Laz gave her directions and hope she makes it. Good thing, we have Big with us if we need to sniff her out of the woods.

Email from Naresh at 8:38 pm

Re: vol-state update 19- 9.5 days

Diane is about to make the climb. 10k to the finish.

Naresh added more photos to his album!

Update of runner status by Laz at 7:24 pm

vol-state update 19- 9.5 days

the vol state is winding down.

diane tortured race officials with an extended break in kimball,
but should be on or over the tennessee river bridge at this moment.
10 miles remaining.

marv has made it out of manchester, at 253 miles,
but things are going very slowly.
his able crew, stu, is monitoring him closely.
the motto of team skagerberg has become;
“health is the first priority.”

unconfirmed reports have oprah retiring at 241.

laz (very, very tired)

Posted by Naresh at 12:39 pm

Email from Naresh at 12:17 pm

 Psyche just finished

Psyche finished 09:04:57:01

Email From Stewart at 10:37 am

 marv report

we are getting underway from manchester at about ten thirty am. he slept over twelve hours.

off to the penultimate assault… i hope

Email from Charles at 8:16 am

 Re: vol state update 18-9 days

Psyche headed out @ 5:55 this morning and is halfway to the rock, going through new hope right now

Update of runner status by Laz at 8:04 am

 vol state update 18-9 days

psyche-no report, must assume still at 297
diane 283- looks like night finish
marvin-242- the 10 day finish escaped during yet another thunderstorm

i need to go home & take care of some things.
psyche hasnt reported in 24 hours, altho i got a report from a bystander last night.
hopefully we will hear something in time to meet her at the rock.

marvin’s 10 day finish, already a longshot, evaporated in the latest round of thunderstorms.
he & his magnificent crew, stu, are focused on finishing with health intact…

an approach i thoroughly endorse.

it is not noble to endanger your life in an ultra.
it is foolish at best.
perhaps selfish.

my emotions about marv’s attempt need time to settle in.
there are so many.

but once again he is my hero.


Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon, Vol StateComments (0)

Sulaiman Seriki VS500 Finish

Day 8: 2012 Last Annual Vol State Live Blog

One week of the Vol State 500K is done and what a week it was! Heat, rain, lightning, runners getting lost, running in circles…you name it, they probably suffered through it! But we’ve seen 9 finishers so far and all before the 7 day deadline! There are still runners out on the course fighting for every mile. Follow along and see how they do. They could really use some good thoughts going there way.

But…things are slowing down out there so I probably won’t be adding as many updates but check back later just in case. 🙂 If you didn’t get a chance to read the live blog for any of the previous 7 days, you can check them out here:

Day 1      Day 2      Day 3     Day 4       Day 5      Day 6       Day 7

And don’t forget, you can always:

-See what Joshua (@bayou) is up to on twitter or search the tag #VS500 on twitter.
-Check out The Last Annual Vol State Road Race page on Facebook.
-Check out the Vol State 2012 Map to see where the runners are (updated 2x per day w/ last location).
-Carl Laniak is adding photos to his album if you’d like to check those out as well:  Vol State 2012 Album
-Naresh is at the Vol State now and taking photos! Check it out: Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album 

So far today:

Email from ultrarunningmom at 9:00 pm

 #10 – Sherry meador

7 days 13 hours 42 minutes 10 seconds

Posted by Joshua at 10:24 am

Email from Stewart (Marvin’s crew) at 9:51 am (Go Marvin! Run It Fast!)

marvin status

marvin is asleep in the breakdown lane….he says it is much better to have meditations in the breakdown lane than breakdowns in the meditation lane.
he is giving instructions to fifty people and his arms and legs are twitching.
perhaps he and his fifty friends are chasing rabbits.

i had a real good very smart girl friend once who claimed that there were only fifty real people in the world, and all the rest were androids. i will bet that the real ones were megarunners.

he is a few miles towards shelbyville, on 64.

he stopped a moment to enjoy the shade of his shade tree of despair from two years ago.

we now have a spare battery in the back seat.

when he starts to stagger today we will crash in shelbyville, and mount a night assault on manchester.

i believe he will be in surplus rather than deficit territory by day eight.

oprah is quite determined

but her entourage slows her down somewhat. and it takes energy to generate that aura, you know.

marvin wants to get moving again.

stay tuned for later developments!


Update of runner status at 8:05 am

vol state update 14 – 7 days, doing the impossible

the peloton made it to the rock last night
but not without more jostling and bumping

jay d had a big lead over john and richard
leaving out of kimball.
but a big lead when you’re addled by sleep deprivation and 300 miles
is not a safe thing.

when jay missed the turn onto castle rock road
he lost enough time that richard passed him.

then, at the penultimate turn on the course,
the one into the cornfield, he trekked right on by again.
and by the time he got back
john had passed him up too.

at the finish, when he finally arrived,
jay didn’t show any disappointment or surprise
he was just so happy to stop!

it is worthy of note,
that at the back of the pack
marv skagerberg is setting us up for something special
marv is fighting a mighty battle with the sands of time.

he exalted at the bench of despair last night,
and is building momentum.
he wants this finish as much as any great king of the past.

1-9) dan fox, joshua holmes, paul lefelhocz, juli aistars, sulaiman seriki
richard westbrook, john price, jay dobrowalksi, charlie taylor 314

10) sherry meador 292 (her check in mieage last night was a mistake, she was in monteagle)
11) psyche wimberly 265 (has picked up a crew and is rocking on)
12) dusty hardman 258 (slept in, but the happiest runner checking in)
13) shannon burke 253 (she’s got this)
14) diane taylor 235 (thru wartrace)
15) marvin skagerberg 206 (gaining on the time limit)
16) oprah 205 (like a vulture, waiting)

17) thomas mikkleson 250 RIP
18) jan silverman 218 RIP
19) rita barnes 185 RIP
20) sal coll 156 RIP
21) fred davis 125 RIP
22) erika matheny/adam venn 122 RIP
23) mike melton 121 RIP
24) abi meadows 100 RIP

Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon, Vol StateComments (0)


Day 7: 2012 Last Annual Vol State Live Blog

Who knew a 314 mile race could be such a nail biter! Yesterday we saw Dan Fox win in 5:03:09:33 and break his own record. Then there was a fierce battle for 2nd. Not to mention the rest of the runners battling the TN heat and then a crazy, crazy monsoon/hurricane like storm! Waiting for the updates or any info on the runners made me a nervous wreck! 🙂 Check out all the happenings on Day 6! It is a can’t miss read!

Once again, I’ll be updating today’s live blog throughout the day so check back to see all of today’s happenings. If you didn’t get a chance to read the live blog for any of the previous 6 days, you can check them out here:

Day 1      Day 2      Day 3     Day 4       Day 5      Day 6

And don’t forget, you can always:

-See what Joshua (@bayou) is up to on twitter or search the tag #VS500 on twitter.
-Check out The Last Annual Vol State Road Race page on Facebook.
-Check out the Vol State 2012 Map to see where the runners are (updated 2x per day w/ last location).
-Carl Laniak is adding photos to his album if you’d like to check those out as well:  Vol State 2012 Album
-Naresh is at the Vol State now and taking photos! Check it out: Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album 

So far today:

Email from Carl at 8:03 am

volstate finishes overnight

sub 7 days were:

richard westbrook 6:20:13:55

john price 6:20:29:56

jay dobrowalski 6:20:46:15

charlie taylor 6:22:56:05

Update of runner status by Carl at 8:25 pm

vol state update 13 – 6.5 days, the peloton approaches

the podium has been established
and even the other 2 breakaways have made it to the rock.

but the peloton is now making its way towards the finish.

at the end of each 24 hour period, the time rolls over to a new day.
as a runner, that roll over (at 18 minutes past 0700 in the morning in this case)
is the most important minute of the day….
it is the difference between a finishing time of 6:XX:xx:XX
and 7:XX:xx:XX

tonight the peloton has to push to keep their finish under 7 days.
500km for a week in the logbook has an irresistible draw.

there are 5 on the road in from tracy city
with a shot to keep laz and the cheering squad at the rock awake all night.

1-5) dan fox, joshua holmes, paul lefelhocz, juli aistars, sulaiman seriki 314

6) jay dobrowalski 300 (eating at mcdonalds and going down for a sleep, getting up early for sub 7?)
7) sherry meador 290 (in jasper and moving, she just wont stop)
8 ) john price 287 (headed down the mountain in the last remaining light)
9) richard westbrook 287 (with john shooting for sub 7)
10) charlie taylor 277 (out of monteagle after a long rest, and shooting for sub 7)
11) dusty hardman 250 (got into manchester early feeling good)
12) shannon burke 250 (right on track)
13) psyche wimberly 248 (struggled to manchester, but picked up a crew and is GOING to FINISH)
14) diane taylor 206 (back ahead of schedule, contingent upon an early morning tomorrow)
15) marvin skagerberg 177 (determined)
16) oprah (steadfast)

17) thomas mikkleson 250 RIP
18) jan silverman 218 RIP
19) rita barnes 185 RIP
20) sal coll 156 RIP
21) fred davis 125 RIP
22) erika matheny/adam venn 122 RIP
23) mike melton 121 RIP
24) abi meadows 100 RIP

Email from Carl at 6:24 pm

6:10:49:44 – #5 Sulaiman Seriki (SS)

Happy to be done!

Carl (who is almost home in SC for the real world tmrw)

Posted by Joshua at 5:16 pm

Some of Naresh’s photos which he was kind enough to let me share:

Email from Naresh at 2:46 pm

Re: Vol State 2012 – Pictures from the road

I have never been in a thunderstorm this bad in my whole life. Nature did put on a beautiful electric show followed by a torrential downpour. It was like as if Hell had diarrhea and it crapped the hell out on Tennessee. Broken branches and debris were all over the sand mountain. Just one of those moments where I think “Thanks God I am not running it this year”

Josh and Paul’s finish line pictures updated in my album.  http://tinyurl.com/buvwot4  (Scroll down all the way)
Paul Lefelhocz celebrated his victory in style. Check it out for yourself 🙂

(Whose friends refuses to get in his car anymore)

Posted by Joshua at 12:02 pm

Email from Carl at 11:37 am

6:04:18:34 #4 – juli aistars

No lean!


Update of runner status by Laz at 8:40 am

vol state update 12-day 6, give ’em blood

word is, the vol-state fans want blood.
we gotcher blood fer ye.

jan silverman is gone. she solved the problem of how to get back on the course…
she aint going.

psyche did get taken in last night.
dusty awoke in the night, and heard someone crying outside her window.
it was psyche, and she let her in.
what did we say about living like a stray dog?
this morning psyche said she is “trying to figure out how to walk”
and she will let us know about her vol-state future.

juli survived the storm.
she is one remarkable woman. resilient, resourceful, and determined.
my own sleep (the time i now call happy hour) was interrupted by a great comedy routine.
one end of a phone conversation between carl and juli.
carl was addled by lack of sleep,
juli was addled by lack of sleep.
she had stopped at mcdonalds and couldnt figure out which way to go.
carl couldnt figure out where she was.
after several phone calls and much discussion,
they finally figured it out.
she was 100 yards from where we were sleeping.
yes fans, even carl has become a casualty.
(people who actually need to sleep nearly every day should avoid the vol-state)

i am losing carl to work responsibilities, and with him the ability to post.
as soon as i finish this, i am going back to the rock for juli’s finish.
this will be (probably) the last complete update.

1-3) dan fox, joshua holmes, paul lefelhocz 314

4) juli aistars 303 (crossing the tennessee river)
5) sulaiman sericki 287 (starting down monteagle mountain)
6) jay dobrowalski 274 (leaving monteagle for tracy city)
7) charlie taylor 265 (pelham, at the foot of the mountain)
8 ) john price 264 (right behind charlie, and doesnt know it)
9) sherry meador 252 (leaving manchester)
10) richard westbrook 258 (hillsboro)
11-12) psyche wimberly and dusty hardman (in war trace, psyche may not go on)
13) shannon burke 223 (leaving shelbyville)
14 diane taylor 194 (nearing lewisburg)
15) marvin skagerberg 175 (in columbia, and fighting for his race with the heart of a lion)
16) oprah 174

17) thomas mikkleson 250 RIP
18) jan silverman 218 RIP
19) rita barnes 185 RIP
20) sal coll 156 RIP
21) fred davis 125 RIP
22) erika matheny/adam vess 122 RIP
23) mike melton 121 RIP
24) abi meadows 100 RIP

it was a happy band that stepped off the ferry a lifetime ago.
some have already tasted the sweet kiss of the rock.
some will yet succeed.
many have failed.
and more may join them.
none will forget the call of the open road.

the vol-state is the most achievable of challenges.
but victory will come with a price.

i will try to get word out, about the fate of those who fight on…

however i can.


Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon, Vol StateComments (0)


Day 6: 2012 Last Annual Vol State 500K Live Blog

Day 6 of the Last Annual Vol State! It’s getting close! Do we have a winner? Any minute now, I expect…if it hasn’t happened already. And where is our fearless leader at? Sulaiman? What of all the other runners still out there?  I’ll be updating today’s live blog throughout the day so check back to see who is close and who has a while to go yet. If you didn’t get a chance to read the live blog for any of the previous 5 days, you can check them out here:

Day 1      Day 2      Day 3     Day 4       Day 5

And don’t forget, you can always:

-See what Joshua (@bayou) is up to on twitter or search the tag #VS500 on twitter.
-Check out The Last Annual Vol State Road Race page on Facebook.
-Check out the Vol State 2012 Map to see where the runners are (updated 2x per day w/ last location).
-Carl Laniak is adding photos to his album if you’d like to check those out as well:  Vol State 2012 Album
-Naresh is at the Vol State now and taking photos! Check it out: Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album 

So far today:

Email from Carl at 4:41 am

4am on the rock (laz)

it’s 4am on the rock…

paul is lost in 2500 acres of 10′ tall corn.
naresh has gone on foot to look for paul.
carl drove off, to look for naresh.
i’m standing in the rain, without any of my shit.

i really want to get back to the room
so i can get an hour of sleep
before the morning call ins start.

i wouldnt mind just being dry.

i am in hell.

but i really can’t complain.
juli is on monteagle mountain,
in a monster electrical storm.
10 miles from the nearest town.

sulaiman is lost in tracy city.
being eyed by the local cops.

psyche is trying to sleep on a bench
on the front porch of the walking horse hotel in wartrace.
she wanted to room with dusty.
but the hotel is locked,
and dusty’s phone is off while she sleeps.
a shower and a bed are but feet away.
but might as well be back in Missouri.

jan has a shower and a bed,
but a cop picked her up tonight
and took her 6 miles off course to a motel.
she’s not sure how she’ll return to the course tomorrow.

jay, sherry, charlie, and john
are trudging their way up monteagle mountain.
in the dark.
with nothing open.

diane is already up this morning.
heading from columbia to shelbyville.
trying to stay on pace for a 10 day finish.

marv is striving for columbia,
pushing to get back on pace
after a foot care appointment at the hospital.

dusty and shannon are the only two,
in this whole race
who aren’t hungry, thirsty,
and miserable.
they’re only tired and sore,
and getting ready to head back out for another day…

accept no imitations…
there’s nothing quite like the vol state.


Email from Carl at 3:25 am

5:20:05:06 – #3 Paul Lefelhocz

Who ran thru the maelstrom, and came out clean.


Posted by Joshua at 12:47 am

Email from Carl at 12:26 am (Woo! Way to Run It Fast #1!)

 5:17:04:49 – #2 is Joshua Holmes

Charging up sand mountain in under an hour, fighting off Paul…and god’s weather furry.


Email from Carl at 11:03 pm

Re: Vol state update from poseidon’s perch

Joshua got in his crew vehicle when a limb blew down out of a tree and hit him, while a lightning bolt struck within spitting distance.

But Paul is apparently running on thru this storm. Gaining.

With the amount of rain coming down, he *might* even have most of the stink washed off of him.

This hellacious bit of weather just might have a huge impact on the race…if it keeps up long enough for Paul to make up 6 more miles….


Email from Carl at 10:30 pm

 Vol state update from poseidon’s perch

We are at castle rock ranch, awaiting the #2 runner.


The sky is coming apart. This storm is more than laz or I have ever been in, from a volume of rain standpoint. It’s raining more than a hurricane. Just incredible.
Josh and Paul have both retreated to their crew vehicles, but juli is up on the monteagle plateau with just the poncho in her pack. She is experiencing…. something… up there right now.


Posted by Joshua at 10:02 pm

Posted by Joshua at 8:39 pm (Come on Josh! Go, go, go! Run It Fast!)

Update of runner status by Laz at 8:39 pm

vol state update 11-5.5 days

today the people who were too lazy to already finish got a taste of real heat.
it cost us one more, as thomas mikkleson bailed at 250.

standings after 5.5 days:

1) dan fox 314 (5:03:09:33) king dan II; “if you get tired after 200 miles; that just shows a lack of training.”
2) joshua holmes 297- hoping to finish after midnight
3) paul lefelhocz 285- making one last surge & closing ground. will it be too late?
4) juli aistars 280- resilient. what else can you say?
5) sulaiman sericki 254- he says he isnt stopping again until he reaches the rock
6) jay dobrojetski 252- can anyone say “hot pursuit?”
7) richard westbrook 250 – he has been in this spot for a day and a half.
8 ) charlie taylor 246-“this race right here is a man-maker. it makes you reach down in places you forgot you had”
9) john price 245- sounding very weary. but has 5 places within 9 miles. expect him to respond.
10) sherry meador 237- this is one tough girl, entering the homestretch.
11) psyche wimberly 231-in war trace and moving
12) dusty hardman 221- headed out into the night well rested
13) shannon burke 214- fighting to reach shelbyville and take a break
14) jan silverman 210- “my feet are a mess”
15) diane taylor 179- sleeping in columbia, preparing to spend all night on the road.
16) marvin skagerberg 155- medical care has worked miracles on his feet. fighting to get back on pace.
17) oprah 154- what can we say that hasnt already been said?
18) thomas mikkleson 250-RIP
19) rita barnes 185- RIP
20) sal coll 156- RIP
21) fred davis 125- RIP
22) erika matheny/adam venn 122-RIP
23) mike melton 121- RIP
24) abi meadows 100- RIP

tight races for the remaining places coming out of manchester.
nobody wants to yield a place after 5 and a half days in hell.
everybody would like to take one.
gonna be a couple of wild days coming up.
the only thing we know for sure…

there are no ties at the vol-state.


Posted by Joshua at 2:03 pm

Email from Carl at 11:07 am

Re: King Dan…5:03:09:33

He broke his own unscrewed record.
And he is the first unscrewed King.


In reply to:

Hail King Dan!. That is a great time. Is that the uncrewed record?

Fred in Connecticut

Posted by Joshua at 11:04 am

Email from Carl at 10:31 pm

King Dan…5:03:09:33

“this feels soooo good”

Pictures in my picasa album


Posted by Joshua at 8:38 am

Update of runner stats from Carl at 8:18 am

vol state update 10 – 5 day standings

1) dan fox 303
2) joshua holmes 271
3) juli aistars 259
4) paul lefelhocz 250
5) sulaiman sericki 240
6) thomas mikkelson 235
7)  jay dobroplusk 234
8 ) charlie taylor 223
9) john price 222
10) sherry meador 220
11) psyche wimberly 203
12) richard westbrook -over 200, but has forgotten how to use phone
13) dusty hardman 190
14) shannon burke 187
15) rita barnes 185 (RIP)
16) jan silverman 184
17) sal coll 156 (RIP)
18) diane taylor over 144, but probably in dead (brain) cell zone
19) marvin skagerberg 136
20) oprah 135
21) fred davis 125 (RIP)
22) erika matheny/adam vess 122 (RIP)
23) mike melton 121 (RIP)
24) abi meadows 100 (RIP)

Email from Carl at 7:18 am

best beer?

the debate can be put to rest.
at mile 300, dan fox slapped a $20 bill in laz’s hand,
and said, “bring me a beer to the rock.”

not sure what we’ll get, but it’ll be the undisputed best beer in ultrarunning….

the one you down at the finish,
after winning the race.

king don’s reign is into the final minutes.

Email from Carl at 7:09 am

the heir apparent (volstate – from laz)

crown prince dan is nearing south pittsburg.
he has passed the interstate and will cross the tennessee river for the second time in about a half hour.
one more mountain to climb.
victory is now literally within sight.

he built his kingdom on 5 days of nearly continuous movement,
living on short naps in the woods alongside the road…

and putting in killing surges;
long strings of 4.5 and 5 mile hours during the crucial days when the race was being decided.
pulling away when his rivals were trying to close the gap.

saw him passing the 300 mile mark, at 4d 23h 25m,
with an ear to ear grin.

what an inspiring effort.

laz (update for the mortals to follow)

Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon, Vol StateComments (0)


Day 5: 2012 Last Annual Vol State 500K Live Blog

Day 5 of the Last Annual Vol State! Saturday they had wild rain, yesterday they had steamy heat…what will be in store for our small band of runners today? I’ll be updating today’s live blog throughout the day so check back to see all the happenings. Here are the first 4 Days if you didn’t get a chance to read them:

Day 1      Day 2      Day 3     Day 4

And don’t forget, you can always:

-See what Joshua (@bayou) is up to on twitter or search the tag #VS500 on twitter.
-Check out The Last Annual Vol State Road Race page on Facebook.
-Check out the Vol State 2012 Map to see where the runners are (updated 2x per day w/ last location).
-Carl Laniak is adding photos to his album if you’d like to check those out as well:  Vol State 2012 Album
-Naresh is at the Vol State now and taking photos! Check it out: Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album 

So far today:

 Update of runner status by Laz at 10:38 pm

 vol state update 9: 4.5 days, the hammer comes down

i always get frustrated at the “horror moves” where the victim gains the upper hand,
then immediately turns her back on the villain,’only to be grabbed again when the villain comes back to life.
once you knock them down, you are supposed to make sure they never get back up.
i always coached basketball by the same theory.
it wasnt that i believed in running up a score,
but when you get the upper hand you keep hammering until you know the opponent is not coming back.

the feral fox apparently comes from the same school.
he opened a small lead at 3.5 days.
blew it open at 4.
the surviving contenders tried to answer.
but fox was like a runaway train.
by 4.5 days, he had the race in hand.

42 miles thru the east tennessee mountains isnt exactly a formality.
it falls short of being a victory procession.
but with a 27 mile lead, the feral fox can almost feel the crown on his head….

after his call-in from the top of mointeagle mountain,
we watched as an intense electrical storm descended on his position.
lightning was hammering the top of the mountain,
huge bolts that ran from ground to sky like dancing pillars,
some lasting 4 or 5 seconds.
dan had lost his rain gear 12 hours earlier, while making his 4-day call-in.

i reckon he will have an entertaining night to tell us about when he arrives.
we expect him to reach the rock sometime tomorrow morning.

dan’s lost raingear was part of an all-male attempt to cut into the women’s lead in the battle of the sexes.
the men tallied 2 sets of lost raingear, a lost phone charger, and a drop.
the women answered with a lost phone charger, a lost pair of pants (!?), a couple of lost hats, and another drop.

and we havent even counted sunglasses.
we saw one woman, who had lost her sunglasses on day one, running with several spare pairs hanging from her pack.

however, no one may be able to match the performance of sulaiman and jay.
after running off course in the wee hours of the morning, and unwittingly taking a room in a motel far from the course,
they awoke to find themselves on a road that they could not reconcile to their maps,
and spent 6 hours circling lewisburg on the bypass…
a new twist on the concept of the endless loop.

11 hours in lewisburg.

we received several frantic phone calls from the wayward duo during their treadmill experience.
but we couldnt figure out where they were, either.
we finally came across them during our afternoon drive thru…
only a mile short of where they called in from that morning.

lets see the women top that one.

standings after 4.5 days

1) dan fox- 272 (monteagle)
2) paul lefelhocz- 245 (he finally had to sleep)
3) joshua holmes- 244.5
4) juli aistars- 244 (and starting to lean)
5) thomas mikkelson- 235.5 (waiting in his car for the electrical storms to subside)
6) sulaiman sericki- 212 (off the treadmill)
7) jay dobrovinski- 211 (still dizzy from circling the bypass)
8 ) charlie taylor-207.5 (just passed jp)
9) john price- 207
10) sherry meador-202 (rest break!)
11) richard westbrook- last sighted at mile 200 (might b e as high as 8th place)
12) psyche wimberly- 195
13) rita barnes- 185 (dropped at the bench of despair)
14-15-16) jan silverman, dusty hardman, and shannon burke- 179 (rest break in columbia)
17) sal coll- 156 (gone home)
18) diane taylor- 144 (short break in hohenwald, then a big push to get back on track)
19) fred taylor 125 (gone home)
20) marvin skagerberg-125 (linden rest break)
21) oprah- 124
22) erika matheny/adam vess relay- 122 (gone home)
23) mike melton- 121 (gone home)
24) abi meadows- 100 (gone home)

there is no way to tell all the stories.


Posted by Joshua at 10:32 pm

Posted by Joshua at 10:27 pm

Naresh added a bunch of photos to his Vol State 2012 from the weekend. Check out the rain they were dealing with and the “bench of despair” (see Email from Laz at 7:25 am on Day 4)! Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album Thanks to Naresh for letting me share some of them here.

Email from Carl at 2:00 pm

Fly 5

Melton is picked up.
121 miles in 103 hours.


Email from Carl at 11:29 am

More tails from the road…

In shelbyville, juli was hiding from the sun under her umbrella, when I semi went by and blew it inside out. It was destroyed by the blast.

She had just climbed a rise past the dollar general…but, oh, the effort to go back down the hill for a new sunshade!

She went in the convenience store where she was, and sweet talked her way into purchasing the clerk’s umbrella, for $10.

The great added benefit?
“This one is prettier!”

Now, tell me, would you rather get online and order a $300 garmin watch, or get yourself to shelbyville at mile 226 and scavenge an umbrella off a startled and confused quick-mart clerk???

Welcome to volstate!


Update from Carl at 11:09 am

As an update, we just received word from jays family, and then directly from sulaiman by text message, that those two are currently sleeping in lewisburg at 202.


Email from Carl at 11:04 am

As we head out for the LONG drive thru today (the runners are spread from 113 to 250, and we will drive that twice!) it is hard not to start getting excited about the race charging towards the rock.
It seems the contenders are down to the Ohioans. The Fox and the Hocz.

Paul called us from wartrace, wondering where he could go down for a major rest. When he learned that he was second by less than 10 miles, his voice wavered between excitement and despair….. “oh no! I guess I’ll just take a quick nap on this bench and then keep going.”


Driving backwards on the course, we’ve just seen a hunched over figure operating at a semblance of a jog. It was juli aistars, coming in to shelbyville just before 11am.

The sun is heating up the roads, these runners are in for a baking hot day, where their brains will be as hot as their feet.

From the shimmering heat of Pelham for the leaders as they press towards monteagle mountain….to the mortals who are toiling in the no mans land between Columbia and culleoka, all those runners still on the course can truly say that they know what it means to push themselves to the brink.

For those of you on the edge of your seats in your air conditioned offices….get out your number 2 pencils and start planning for vol state 2013. The Tennessee roads will welcome you just like they have Thomas mikkelson, (who we just passed in Wheel, TN) with a warm (stiflingly warm) embrace.


Posted by Joshua at 9:07 am

 Update of runner status by Laz at 8:45 am

vol state update 8: what comes down must go up

vol staters may be consistent with their performance,
but their emotional state is a different matter.
part of running the vol-state, at least successfully,
is surviving the crushing emotional and physical lows that accompany the effort.
sitting at home (or even putting in endless miles up and down the route in a car)
it is easy to say that every low will pass,
that highs
(such as one can feel a “high” after a couple of hundred miles, with over a hundred remaining)
will be in the future.
at the time when it is only with the greatest effort one can trudge along at 30 minutes a mile,
it seems like this is the state that will last forever.
that, if anything, it will get even worse.
the ever-present pain seems to crescendo,
until it’s cacaphonous screaming wracks your body and fills your head.
the mind can only calculate the endlessly depressing slow progress,
which will never get you to the finish.
the downward spiral disappears into the mists below you.
the freefall can only end when you crash to earth in a total collapse.

to succeed at the volstate
you must preserve a spark of hope deep inside.
you must persevere thru any depression.
it will not always be that way.
there are still times in the future when you will move strongly,
and you will feel invincible,
as if you could go on forever.
and somewhere out there in the future is the rock.
the reward for never losing sight of your goal.
the incredible power of that moment,
when you step on, touch, or kiss the rock,
and all the pressure ends cannot be described.
it can only be felt.
and the memory of that moment will last a lifetime,
with a power that could not be, if it were not for the hopeless, horrible lows.
so easy to understand on the sofa,
so hard to believe on the road.
what comes down must go up.

standings after 4 days:

1) dan (feral) fox- 243 nearing manchester. dan is putting together an astonishing uncrewed run.
2) paul lefelhocz- 230 nearing war trace. these guys are writing the book on running crewless… and competing.
3) joshua holmes- 221 fixing to take a break
4) juli aistars- 210 moving, after finally taking a nights sleep
5) thomas mikkelson- 209 moving
6) john price- 185 moving
7) charkley taylor- 181 moving
8 ) sherry meador- 180 moving
9) richard westbrook- 179.5 moving

10-11) sulaiman sericki and jay dobrobluski were last reported resting at 179. they might have started and not had cell phone reception to check in…

12) psyche wimberly- 175 she was forced off the course by a cop in columbia last night. back on course this morning.
13) jan silverman – 161 moving
14) sal coll- 156 (gone home)
15) rita barnes- 152 moving
16) dusty hardman- 151 moving
17) shannon burke- 147 moving
18) dian taylor- 126 moving
19) fred davis- 125 (gone home)
20) erika matheny/adam vess relay- 122 (gone home)
21) marvin skagerberg- 115 (across the river!) moving
22) oprah- 114 moving
23) mike melton- 108 moving (?) describes seeing oprah blow past as “emasculating”
24) abi meadows- 100 (gone home)

Email from Laz last night at 10:13 pm

possibly the greatest race photo ever taken


Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon, Vol StateComments (1)


Day 4: 2012 Last Annual Vol State 500K Live Blog

Day 4 and the runners survived a wild day of rain yesterday! I’ll be updating today’s blog throughout the day so check back for more updates. Send dry and fast thoughts to all the runners! Oh, and I added a couple of Joshua’s tweets/photos to Day 3’s blog. Here are the first 3 Days if you didn’t get a chance to read them:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

And don’t forget, you can always:

-See what Joshua (@bayou) is up to on twitter or search the tag #VS500 on twitter.
-Check out The Last Annual Vol State Road Race page on Facebook.
-Check out the Vol State 2012 Map to see where the runners are (updated 2x per day w/ last location).
-Carl Laniak is adding photos to his album if you’d like to check those out as well:  Vol State 2012 Album
-Naresh is at the Vol State now and taking photos! Check it out: Naresh’s Vol State 2012 Album

So far today:

Posted by Joshua at 9:52 pm

Vol State Update 7…3.5 days (correction) by Laz at 8:50 pm

> 6-7) jay dobrolewski and sulaiman sericki 180 (on break)

should be

6-7) jay dobrolewski and sulaiman sericki 180 (moving)

Vol State Update 7…3.5 days by Laz at 8:44 pm

today saw the first warm weather of the event.
the promised thunderstorms never materialized,
instead the runners were treated to mid-90’s with a blowtorch sun.

mid-90’s isnt all that hot.
but the foot of water that fell on the course yesterday
came up at the runners from the ground today, in the form of steam.
suffering was evident,
and some drops resulted.

the feral fox made his move today,
running down paul in culleoka (about 185)
and then pulling away through the late morning and afternoon.
we saw dan eating “lunch” in lewisburg at a little after 1400 hours.
he was running strong.
he has opened up a 20 mile lead, the biggest anyone has held since day 1.

dan made a statement this afternoon,

today the whole nature of the event has changed at the front.
no more fruitbasket turnover.
rest breaks are calculated and measured.
end of game race tactics are taking shape.
the race is on, and people are fighting to position themselves for that last run to the rock….
which is still a day or so away.

the runners still approaching columbia will undergo that transition tomorrow.

it only gets better from here on in.
(better for the spectators. the runners are in hell)

1) dan fox 222 (moving)
2) paul lefelhocz 202 (on break)
3) juli aistars 202 (on break)
4) joshua holmes 197 (moving)
5) thomas mikkelson 194 (moving)
6-7) jay dobrolewski and sulaiman sericki 180 (on break)
8 ) charlie taylor 170 (moving)
9) sherry meador 167 (moving)
10) john price 166 (moving)
11) richard westbrook 165 (moving)
12) psyche winberly 157 (moving)
13) sal coll 156 (gone home)
14-15-16-17) jan silverman, shannon burke, dusty hardman, rita barnes 144 (resting in hohenwald)
18) fred davis 125 (gone home)
19) erika matheny/adam vess relay 122 (gone home)
20) diane taylor 117 (moving)
21) mike melton 107 (on break)
22) marvin skagerberg 104 (moving)
23) oprah 103 (moving)
24) abi meadows 100 (gone home)

Posted by Joshua at 2:14 pm 

Update from Carl Laniak at 1:09 pm

Flies at volstate
They are dropping.
So far:

Abi at mi 100
The relay at 122
Fred at 125
Sal at 157


 Update from Carl Laniak at 12:17 pm

Vol State relay update

Erika Matheny just called in with news of her relay. The effort and pain have ended. Abi is taking them back to her place in Chattanooga to complete the more restful half of their vacation.


Email from Laz at 8:23 am

 update change
lefelhocz 1st 179, fox second 178

laz (calls ins can be imprecise!)

72 Hour Update of runner status by Laz at 8:11 am

the 3 day standings
1) dan fox 180 (leaving columbia)
2) paul lefelhocz 179 (columbia) coming off a good rest (translates as “indoors”)
3) juli aistars 177 (feeling good… miserable is good, right?) in laundromat trying to dry clothes
4) joshua holmes 175 (down)
5) jay dobrotraski 169 (near columbia) needs a break
6) thomas mikkelson 158 (past halfway!) well rested and moiving good
7) sulaiman sericki 146 (leaving hohenwald)
8 ) sal coll 145 (leaving hohenwald)
9-11) john price, sherry meador and charlie taylor 144 resting in hohemwald
12) richard westbrook 144 (unconfirmed) believed to be resting in hohenwald
13) dusty hardman 132
14) psyche wimberly 125 (linden) battling the linden factor-the outcome in doubt
15) fred davis 125 (linden) dropped, waiting on ride
16) shannon burke 120 (feeling cheerful… but says that should be fixed by afternoon)
17-18) jan silverman 117 (past the river, and feeling like a whiney baby-but survived her crisis)
rita barnes 117 (moving)

19) erika matheny/adam venn relay 111
20) abi meadows 100 (dropped)
21-22) mike melton and dian taylor 92 (lexington) will they ever move??
23) marvin skagerberg 90 (lexington) working on a foot problem.
24) oprah 89

Email from Laz at 7:25 am

tails from the road
just a few notes,
while we wait on the rest of the incoming checkin calls
(from those runners who have yet to destroy their phones).

we call it the linden factor.
if the “bench of despair” in glendale (185 miles) is the break point,
beyond which few runners will quit,
linden is yang to its yin.
we lose ’em in linden every year.

at 125 miles, things are starting to get real.
really real.
they think their feet are trashed.
they think their muscles are sore.
they think their knees hurt….

and there are 191 miles left to go.

they know that they havent seen anything, yet.
only the runners with iron will continue beyond linden.

the men made a move to close the score in the battle of the sexes.
a male runner has now destroyed his cell phone.
the women answered almost immediately,
as a woman lost her watch.

women: 1 cell phone, two chargers, a watch, and a drop
men: 1 cell phone, no drops

(just sayin)

was just listening to a “pep talk” given to a discouraged vol-stater by a seasoned veteran:
“go ahead, get some rest.”
“but dont think it is going to make anything better.”
“you wont wake up and discover; ‘hey, new legs!'”
“it is going to suck. it is going to hurt.”
“but you already have your vacation, you might as well go ahead.”
“if you drop out now, you will regret it all week, while you watch other people finish.”
“and you think;’ that could be me. i could have done it. if i only didnt quit.'”

naresh drove around the course last night and noticed a strange phenomenon.
out in the middle of nowhere, uncrewed runners can simply disappear for a couple of hours.
in spite of days of rain,
the resourceful feral runners can discover someplace to sleep.
as carl said;
“once your standards drop low enough…”

altho one unnamed female runner was sleeping on concrete
and a local found her,
and brought her inside to sleep on a couch.
she thought she was in heaven.
(i bet he even gave her something to eat)
come to the vol-state, and live like a stray dog.

the real update will follow soon.


Posted by Joshua at 6:49 am

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The 2012 Edition of the Last Annual Vol State 500K

The 2012 Edition of the Last Annual Vol State 500K

The Last Annual Vol-State Road Race (2012 Edition)

Missouri to Georgia 500 kilometers (314 miles)

Drivers in Tennessee may see some strange characters walking and running alongside the road between July 12 and July 22. While sensible people will be heeding the weatherman’s advice to avoid exercise during the heat of the day, thirty runners from across the country are set to participate in the 32nd “last annual” Vol-State Road Race. The Vol-State, a 500 km (314 mile) footrace, beginning in Dorena Landing, Missouri and finishing at Castle Rock, Georgia, is one of the oldest races of its kind in the world, as well as one of the longest.

The runners will be divided between two divisions; Aided runners will have a crew and vehicle along to provide fluids and food, while the Unaided runners will rely on what they can purchase or carry along the route. The majority of this year’s field will be in the Unaided division. The ultimate, overall winner will carry the coveted title “King of the Road” for the next 12 months. Reigning “King of the Road”, 73 year old Don Winkley out of Corpus Christi, Texas will not be defending his crown, as he will be competing in a footrace across France that takes place at the same time.

The course record is held by Dewayne Satterfield, a mathematician at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, who completed the course in 2009 in a time of 3 days 17 hours 42 minutes and 12 seconds. While Dewayne has not entered at this time, rumors persist that he will be there when the runners board the ferry, to make an attempt on the unaided record held by Dan Fox out of Seattle, Washington. The “Feral Fox” completed the course unaided in a time of 5 days 12 hours 19 minutes and 11 seconds. Fox is entered in the 2012 race.

While some of the runners will be competing for records and championships, others will be in the race as a personal challenge. The time limit for the event is 10 days, and runners will be entering Georgia up until time expires, as everyday people seek to achieve the seemingly impossible distance in Tennessee’s July heat.

The Vol-State is renowned among mega-marathoners for the famous hospitality of Tennesseans. Every runner returns home with stories of the kindnesses shown to them as they struggle thru the Tennessee summer heat. While the runners are thrilled just to receive words of encouragement, they have been offered everything from ice-water and sandwiches, to a bed and a shower. The challenge and the scenery is what brought the race to Tennessee. But, it is the Tennesseans themselves that keep the runners coming back.

The race can be followed on RunItFast.com

The race can be followed on several Twitter accounts from runners and participants including Joshua Holmes (@bayou), John Price (@VBultrarunner), Shannon Burke (@s4121burke), and Naresh Kumar (@iamarunr).

The race can be followed on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/volstaterun 

and on Joshua’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ultrajoshua

Acourse map, with runner locations marked with “stickpins” will be available during the race at: http://www.tinyurl.com/VolState2012

Landmarks on the course, and their distance:
Dorena Landing, MO ferry landing 0 miles
Hickman, KY old downtown district 2 miles
Union City, TN old downtown district 18 miles
Martin, TN old downtown district 31 miles
Dresden, TN square 40 miles
Gleason, TN high school 48 miles
McKenzie, TN square 56 miles
Huntingdon, TN square 67 miles
Lexington, TN square 92 miles
Parsons, TN downtown 107 miles
Linden, TN square 125 miles
Hohenwald, TN square 144 miles
Hampshire, TN downtown 162 miles
Columbia, TN square 177 miles
Culleoka, TN downtown 188 miles
Lewisburg, TN square 201 miles
Shelbyville, TN square 223 miles
War Trace, TN downtown 233 miles
Manchester, TN square 249 miles
Pelham, TN downtown 266 miles
Monteagle, TN downtown 274 miles
Tracy City, TN downtown 280 miles
Jasper, TN downtown 296 miles
South Pittsburg, TN Tn River Bridge 303 miles
Castle Rock, GA scenic overlook 314 miles

The Entrants:
Juli Aistars, Illinois
Rita Barnes, Ohio
Sal Coll , Georgia
Dan Fox, Washington
Dusty Hardman, Florida
Sherry Meador, Alabama
Abi Meadows, Georgia
Mike Melton, Florida
Joe Ninke, Florida
John Price, Virginia
Sulaiman Seriki, Tennessee
Jan Silverman, Illinois
Charlie Taylor, Tennessee
Diane Taylor, Tennessee
Psyche Wimberly, Georgia
Shannon Burke, Indiana
Jay Dobrowalski, California
Ray Krolewicz, South Carolina
Paul Lefelhocz, Ohio
Marvin Skagerberg, Texas
Richard Westbrook, Georgia
Mike Montgomery, Tennessee
Mike O’Melia, Alabama
Billy Ray Richardson, Tennessee
Shirley Smith, Alabama
Chris White, Tennessee
Erika Matheney, Texas
Thomas Mikkelsen, Ohio
Lynn Turner, Oklahoma
Joshua Holmes, Tennessee

Race Reports from 2011 Vol State:

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