The Fellowship of Suffering – The Race: Day 4

When we finally reach Hampshire, I am no longer sure I can continue. I think about borrowing the couch inside the Men’s Club, but there is a huge padlock on the door. John and I stretch out on the benches in front of the club and I am able to sleep a little, however uncomfortably. John is also able to sleep, which makes me feel a little better about needing this break.

As daylight increases, Marcia walks up, looks at the door and pushes it open! The padlock was behind the bracket, holding nothing. She goes in and buys a soft drink. John goes in and comes back out. The room is stifling hot, and there is a sweet smell that is almost nauseous, my guess from all the chewing tobacco spit. Eric and Dale also walk up, and Dale goes in to use the bathroom. There is only a urinal.

I check my foot again, and John makes a repair to my patch job. He will also address the issues on his feet. Marcia looks at John’s work and has no suggestions; he has done a good job. She leaves behind a few vials of benzoin, which are more convenient to use than the q-tips. She, along with Eric and Dale, move on.

I am reluctant, but the options are few, and perhaps the nap has done more for me than I would have thought. We start up the long hills towards Columbia and actually make decent time. I slow when I have to, and we check in part-way up the mountain. I stop at a large farm house along the way, waking up a lady, but she is very gracious and allows me to soak my head with her garden hose. She explains she was sleeping in because they took they grand-kids to the rodeo the night before.

It is hot by the time we reach Columbia, and the first convenience store is a welcome sight. We have made only one stop until now and have made good time. I pick up a super-large fountain drink of lemonade to go and we head towards the Hardee’s about a mile or two away. Just before we get there, I share a memory of meeting an old man in front of one of the houses along the road, and when I look up, there’s that same man coming off his porch, pointing his finger, exclaiming that he remembers me from last year. John is amused.

The man invites us up to his porch for a sit in the shade and some ice water, and we do not refuse. He wants to know our names, where were from and what we do for a living. He tells us about other runners he has seen that morning, some of whom would stop, some who wouldn’t. He tells us that Johnny Adams stopped last year and gave him a copy of John Price’s book, and how much that meant to him. We have a great visit, and he doesn’t hold us long. He has been as blessed by our visit as we have been by his hospitality.

I wish I had ordered two cheeseburgers at Hardee’s, they are that good, but alas… We eat, rest a little, and then head for the motel (mile 179) to escape the afternoon sun. (Temps reach 95°!) Eric and Dale have already booked a room and Marcia will venture in later. I sleep well, almost too well, and we miss check-in. I finally wake up and tell John that we have to boogie. It’s Sunday night, and nothing, not even the bowling alley, stays open past nine, and they are closing when we arrive. They let us use the vending machines; we press on with no real food.

I don’t let it get to me, and since it still takes me a long ways to get my stride and pace up to normal, I move ahead while John loads up. I even try running a little on a downhill just to fix whatever it is that makes my foot hurt so bad when I resume walking. John doesn’t catch up to me until shortly before the road to Culleoka. The Bench of Despair (mile 187) market was to have water out for us, but I can’t find any, so I buy a pop from the machine before we head towards Culleoka (mile 188).

Sherry and her daughter Elizabeth, another mother-daughter finish!  I will always consider Sherry to be the embodiment of the Vol State spirit.

Sherry and her daughter Elizabeth, another mother-daughter finish! I will always consider Sherry to be the embodiment of the Vol State spirit.

We come upon Marcia again at the closed store in Mooresville (mile 193) and she joins us for the trip into Lewisburg. It’s a long haul, but the conversation greatly helps the miles go by. Marcia tells us about her near-death experience with the collapsed snow-bridge and this leads to a discussion about how some fight for life and others give in, and the role faith or beliefs may or may not play in all this.

For Contents:
The Fellowship of Suffering – The Race: Day 4 Brad deals with more foot problems, but presses on to Lewisburg and past the 200 mile mark.

For About:
The Fellowship of Suffering – The Race: Day 4 Brad deals with more foot problems, but presses on to Lewisburg and past the 200 mile mark.

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One Response to The Fellowship of Suffering – The Race: Day 4

  1. Pingback: Renaissance Musings Table of Contents | Renaissance Musings

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