By Amanda Curtis,
“Vol State is much more than a race; it is a journey of self discovery where the participants must cross multiple dark deep valleys of self doubt and despair. The result is an awakening and renewal of spirit.”
These are the words of Greg Armstrong, 2019 Vol State Race “King.” Vol State Road Race is a 500 kilometer, 314 mile foot race across five states in July. It starts in Missouri and finishes in Georgia, crossing through Tennessee.
Greg, a Science teacher at Friendship Christian School of Lebanon finished at 10 p.m., July 14, 2019. The Middle Tennessean set a new record, completing the 500K course in 3 days, 14 hours, 11 minutes and 31 seconds.
“This was my fifth Vol State attempt. Last year, I ran way undertrained for the goal I had in mind. Last year, I had forgotten the humility of failure. My biggest failure of 2018 Vol State was forgetting to enjoy the journey of this incredible event. So, when I had a rough patch early, in mile 107, I dropped. I quit. I failed. I am ashamed to say I dropped with no real physical reason. I just didn’t have a reason to run once the record was unattainable.
“So, I did what I believe all humans should do when we experience failure. I picked myself up and analyzed every component of the failure so that it doesn’t happen again, and we become a better soul from it.
“I spent the next 364 days preparing for Vol State, averaging more than 125 running miles a week. While I’m proud of the record, it pales in comparison to the true blessing and gift of this experience. I’ve always been a believer that we should use running to make us a better person, a better soul in life; not our life to make us a better runner.”
*See the accompanying story, “Running to the Rock” to read more about the race and other runners trekking to “The Rock.”