The Last Annual Vol State 500K ultramarathon across Tennessee began on July 9, and only three days later, the race saw its first two finishers cross the finish line in Castle Rock, Ga. First place went to Francesca Muccini, the 2017 Vol State champion, who finished the race in three days, 10 hours, 49 minutes and 40 seconds. This is a women’s course record and the third-fastest time ever run at the event, regardless of gender. Second place went to Bob Hearn, who wasn’t far behind Muccini, finishing in three days and 12 hours.
— LAVS500K (@LAVS500K) July 12, 2020
The Last Annual Vol State
The Vol State is a Laz Lake event. Lake organizes many ultra races, including the Barkley Marathons, and they’re all mind-blowing. They’re long, they’re hard and they would make non-runners (and runners who prefer to stick to races that don’t go past 42.2K) shake their heads and ask, “How long did you say it was?” The Vol State fits that bill perfectly, and it’s exactly what ultrarunners around the world have come to expect from Lake. Its 500K course starts in Missouri, takes runners into Kentucky and then crosses over into Tennessee, where participants stay for the bulk of the race. In the final stretch, runners head into Alabama and then Georgia, where the race ends.
Runners have 10 days to finish the race, meaning they have to cover at least 50K per day if they want to make it to Georgia in time. There are no aid stations or volunteers along the course, but runners have the option of racing with a support crew (although some racers choose to run unsupported).
— SteelTownTweeter (@SteelTownRunner) July 13, 2020
The fact that runners are given 10 days to finish this event and Muccini and Hearn did it in just over three is ridiculous. That means they averaged more than 140K per day as they worked across Tennessee. When Muccini won the race in 2017, she finished with a time of four days and four hours. She also raced the event in 2016, placing eighth overall and crossing the line as the top woman in a little more than five days.
This was Hearn’s first crack at the Vol State, but he’s no stranger to big results either. Earlier this year, he won a 100-mile race in South Carolina, and in 2019, he finished in second place at the Six Days in the Dome event in Wisconsin, where he ran 530 miles in less than a week.
The runners still working away at the Vol State course have more than five days to make it across Tennessee, into Alabama and then into Georgia to finish the race. Athlete tracking and final results can be found here.