Laz Lake’s Last Annual Heart of the South road race (HOTS) begins today in West Memphis, Ark., and will end in 10 days’ time in Castle Rock, Ga. In 2020, HOTS will follow part of the Lee Highway (the first transcontinental route across the southern U.S.) from Arkansas across the Mississippi River and into rural Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, ending at Castle Rock (the same ending place as Vol State). As at Vol State, runners will meet at the finish and be transported to the race start by bus. They’ll spend the night in a hotel, where they’ll receive the route before being bussed to the start in the morning. The race covers 340 miles.
Lake wrote on the event’s Facebook page on June 4, “We have a full field for the last annual Heart of the South Road Race: Full meaning half the number we originally signed up, so that the buses can go at half capacity, and the rooms can have single occupancy.”
Despite the U.S.-Canada border remaining closed, there is still one Canadian (based in America) who will be running. Bev Anderson-Abbs, the former Canadian 100K team member who is originally from Calgary but lives in Sacramento, has been looking forward to this race for months. She owns the Canadian and American 50-mile records for women 55 to 59 with her 6:31:35 finish at Jed Smith 50-Mile she ran in February. According to Twitter reports, she’s an early leader.
— A Distant Keith (@keithdunn) June 18, 2020
Another competitor, Ray Krolewicz, will begin his third traverse of the GVRAT (Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee) while completing the HOTS (but this time he will literally be running across Tennessee). This means that Krolewicz will have travelled over 3,000 kilometres from May 1 to June 28. That means he’s run 370 kilometres weekly since the beginning of May.
The Last Annual Heart of the South begins tomorrow. I just read that course maps are not being given out but that Bad Mike will be giving out directions in 50 mile increments, timing based on world record pace.
— A Distant Keith (@keithdunn) June 17, 2020
Runners can be tracked here, and their progress will be updated every 11 hours. If you don’t already, following Keith Dunn (@keithdunn) on Twitter is a good resource for anything Laz Lake. Reportedly, no course maps were given this year, instead, directions will be given every 50 miles.