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Last Annual Vol State Road Race Returns Thursday

Last Annual Vol State Road Race Returns Thursday

BY BRAD SAM

brad@mckenziebanner.com

For most, the middle of July is a time when the daily trip to the mailbox is more than enough time under the hot, summer sun, but, for a bravely deranged few, it’s the perfect time to hit the open road for 314 miles of unforgiving Tennessee terrain in the Last Annual Vol State Road Race.

The 500-kilometer ultramarathon begins in the early hours of Thursday, July 13 in Dorena Landing, Missouri, and ends in Castle Rock, Georgia, winding through Tennessee by highway and country road. Over 30-plus years, the course has undergone several changes, and one reroute enacted several years ago brings the runners through downtown McKenzie, 56 miles into the journey.

Runners compete in two classes, crewed and uncrewed, or “screwed.” Crewed runners have a team that provides aid during the race, and the rest are at the mercy of the road and anyone they meet along the way.

Last year, a small group of race enthusiasts established an aid station at the McKenzie farmers market and gathered resources from volunteers and local organizations.

Gary “Laz” Cantrell, the creator of the race, told The Banner last year, “McKenzie is a star in this race. People love coming through this beautiful little town.”

In his usual announcement, Laz said, “The pre-race favorite is Andrew Snope of Los Angeles, California. He is expected to face stiff challenges from Greg Southea of Quincy, Massachusetts, and Matt Collins of New York City. Greg Myers, of El Dorado, Kansas, is the dark horse in the field.

“The women’s co-favorites are Kathy Youngren of Owens Crossroads, Alabama, and Jennifer Caravallo of Pompano Beach, Florida, although Francesca Muccini out of Nashville is expected to make some noise on her home turf (or maybe we should say asphalt).”

The core members from McKenzie’s group of “road angels” (as runners lovingly refer to such volunteers) are preparing to support them again and hope to improve on last year’s much-appreciated efforts, having gained tons of input from both participants and organizers.

Last year, the first runner passed through McKenzie at 4:50 p.m. Thursday. The rest trickled through over the hours that followed, peaking during the first half of Friday.

Aid station organizers have most of the needed supplies accounted for, but welcome others to join in their effort. Volunteers are invited to bring the following items: comfortable lawn chairs, phone chargers, Vaseline, salt, watermelon and any appropriate food. Those bringing hot or cold food will need to also provide a way to keep the items at an appropriate temperature. Outlets will be available, but limited.

To follow the progress of the runners, visit http://tinyurl. com/volstate2017.

To read more about the race and see a list of the entrants, visit https://ultrasignup.com/ register.aspx?did=40620 or www. facebook.com/volstaterun/.

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