The Last Annual Heart of the South road race began yesterday, and after about a day and a half, Canadian Bev Anderson-Abbs is in the lead. Her last check-in was at 8 a.m. EDT Friday morning, and after 24 hours of running, she had covered 105 kilometres. Anderson-Abbs won the race last year, and as the returning champ, she is no doubt looking to defend her title.
— Keith (@keithdunn) June 18, 2021
The Last Annual Heart of the South is another ultrarunning event created by Laz Lake, the director of the infamous Barkley Marathons. For this event, runners park their cars in a hayfield at the top of Sand Mountain in North Georgia and are then taken by shuttle buses to a location that is between 300 and 350 kilometres away. They are given course maps to take them back to their vehicles, and the next morning they begin their journey back to their cars on foot, with only the supplies they can carry or obtain on the way. They have 10 days to make it back to their cars, which will have runners finishing the race on June 27.
At the 2020 event, Anderson-Abbs (who lives in California) finished the race long before the cutoff, in four days, 23 hours, 37 minutes and 30 seconds. Her husband, Alan Abbs, finished only 15 seconds behind her. This year, she is leading the charge yet again, and fellow ultrarunner James Fleming is keeping pace with her. At this morning’s check-in, both athletes were well ahead of the third-place runner, who had covered 86 kilometres.
At the first 12 hour check in, Bev had 58 miles, running together with Jim Fleming in first. Runners behind her with 54 and 52 miles. I had a 2 text convo with her and then she turned off her phone to move on. This is her at the start. pic.twitter.com/KFqiuzm1oX
— Alan Abbs (@alanabbs) June 18, 2021
As the race continues, Canadian ultrarunners across the country will be cheering for the Calgary native. Stay tuned for updates as she makes her way back to Sand Mountain.