A couple more photos of Dad taking a water break with Ed and another guy. This was on day two. Photos are from Ron Bennett stating, “Day #2 in between McKenzie and Huntington. You guys rocked and I’ll see ya in the same spot next year!”

156 Hours = 6 1/2 days Westbrook is at mile 223 in Shelbyville. He called and said he was sitting under a Magnolia tree drinking a coke, “How much more Southern can you get?” He is now 78 out of 91 total screwed. He also let us know that he found a broomstick that he is utilizing as a cane to help straighten him out a bit and keep him going, due to his cramping and leaning to the left. He says the cane is helping. His left foot is still swollen. No idea what bit him. Nothing will deter him. He stated, “If I just keep moving I will make it.”


Keep going, Dad. Hang tough! Pray for him, that he makes it with no more issues or ailments. “Only the strong survive.”

~ Season


Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 5.38.12 PM

Not so great news today. I was reading the Last Annual Vol State Road Race facebook page to learn that somewhere in Columbia one of the runners in the race was hit by a Dodge Caravan and the driver didn’t stop. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Fortunately, the runner was not hurt. “The construction worker said it was safest to walk up the middle of the street” (news courtesy of Cherie Titus McCafferty).

I spoke to Dad last night. He said everything was terrible. Not only is his waist area hurting and making him lean left, but something bit his left foot causing it to be “swollen like a bullfrog.” He didn’t sound bad but was not feeling the best. Westbrook said he was somewhere between Lewisburg and Shelbyville. He actually called to check on his granddaughter, “Rainbow.” He knew she had her tonsil/adenoidectomy yesterday and wanted to see how she was feeling. Everything that is going on with him and he is concerned about her. He is such a good Paw Paw! She is doing fine, by the way.

Westbrook is maintaining 72nd in a field of 91 screwed runners. He has run 210 miles and is approaching Wheel. TWO THIRDS OF THE WAY DONE! We have not heard from him yet today. I know he is having trouble keeping his phone charged. Hopefully he found a place to recharge his phone and himself, as he wished for last night.

I will keep you informed so check back in soon.

~ Season



Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 10.00.51 PM

Now into hour 132, Westbrook has conquered 202 miles and has passed Lewisburg. I previously mentioned his cramping causing him to lean to one side and then found pictures posted on the LAVS facebook page (photo credit goes to Carla Paul Powell).

At this point, 3 additional runners have dropped out with one of those being in the screwed category. This drops the screwed total to 91 with Westbrook at 72nd. He is SUPER tough and a little crazy so he is hanging in there. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

~ Season

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 3.44.38 PM

At 120 hours Westbrook has completed 190 miles and is past Culleoka. Currently, 19 total competitors have dropped out, with 15 of those belonging to Westbrook’s screwed division. There are 92 screwed runners remaining with Westbrook in 62nd position.

On a positive note, RW did finally get himself some food to fuel him further along. He made a pit stop at Hardee’s in Columbia. He has covered at least 11 more miles to make it to Lewisburg today with another pit stop in town.

Richard was spotted at THE BENCH OF DESPAIR last night at mile 184. One guy looks better than the other. Which one is it?


Richard Westbrook and Darren Dykes at The Bench of Despair in LAVS 2019 (photo compliments of Darren Dykes)

Stay with us for more updates!

~ Season

Four and a half days = 108 hours. Westbrook has reached Columbia and now has 177 miles. He is running in the screwed division, as always, unsupported and with nothing but the pack he carries on his back. Beyond the halfway point now so all he can do is continue moving forward. Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 10.14.29 PM

~ Season




Well, here we are again, the 2019 Last Annual Vol State Road Race consisting of 314 miles (500K) from Missouri into Kentucky, through Tennessee, to finish in Castle Rock, Georgia. The race is run in July for the hottest temperatures to navigate through. This race began as a small race with very few people even knowing about it. Now, all the towns run through are aware of the race and set up plenty of aid stations with goodies to provide to the runners. These Road Angels help tremendously, but don’t mistake me, the running and heat can still get the best of many competitors every year.

This year began with a bang with no injuries to report for Westbrook, although the scheduled vans to take them to the start were late, so the dinner before the race was missed. I hope he got some sort of sustenance that evening. Richard ran to begin the race. He stopped for a rest along the roadside somewhere and fell asleep to wake to 6 other runners who had joined him in his spot. He just woke and continued on running, letting the others enjoy their rest.

The race began at 0730 last Thursday morning, July 11, 2019. After 12 hours into the race, Westbrook ran 32 miles and had 62 at 24 hours. RW reported in for 75 miles for 36 hours when he admitted to having a “rough day” due to low electrolytes. That was followed by 100 miles for 48 hours. At this point he did reveal having some side cramping causing him to lean to the side as he has had in some past races. He is eating salt packets when he has access to them. I hope they are enough! For the 60 hour check-in, he was at 118 miles after taking shelter from the rain. The following mileage has been covered at each 12 hour check-in:  Hour 72 – 130 miles and Hour 84 – 159 miles.

Richard Westbrook, number 82, at mile 164 for the 96 hour check-in for 2019 Lavs

For the latest 96 hour check-in, Westbrook has traversed 164 miles and is in Hampshire. He did call later in the day to say he was feeling very tired and drained to realize he had not eaten all day. He arrived at a regular aid station that he was counting on, only to find all the food had been eaten already and no more put out. He did say he was approaching Columbia and will find some food there. He better! Who runs many miles in the extreme heat and forgets to eat? Richard Westbrook does, that’s who.

I was late getting started on these updates for Dad. When I got to where I could sit and post, there was no internet. NOTE: DO NOT RUN OVER THE FIBER OPTIC INTERNET/CABLE CORD WHILE MOWING THE LAWN. (FYI: it was not me!) And of course on the weekend no one was coming out. Great, just great! I will be on track now with updates every 12 hours as long as he checks in and I am able to track him. Hmmmm, considering implanting a chip in him while he sleeps so I can track him whenever needed. Stay tuned for more to come and pray for all the runners out there.

~ Season





Posted: July 2, 2019 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized


A Vol State Pre-Race Report 2019

    The road is waiting. It is out there after cooling through the night. Now, it is warming in the morning sun. Later, it will be baking in the hot sun and giving off heat waves that will curl images on the horizon. It will be yearning for the cool of the evening and the sweetness of the night.             

And, on that road is the runner trekking through the 2019 version of the Last Annual Vol State Road Race. That runner is full of hope, expectations, self-promises, determination, sense of adventure, and no matter how many other runners are with him or her…a sense of solitude. And, all that is wrapped up in a bundle of self-doubt. Doubt about the training, about equipment, about pace, about nourishment, about rest. To tie it all up, that bundle is bound up with some amount of fear. But, the runner still smiles, jokes around with race mates, tells stories, listens to stories because it is all normal for Vol State. The runner? Maybe, not so normal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Off the ferry, Hickman, Kentucky greets the runner with some pretty steep hills. Most runners will walk these and start running seriously on the other side of town. Then, the landscape levels off and surrounds the runner with pretty farm land that leads into Union City.                                              

In the mind of most of the runners, the race doesn’t really start until Union City is left behind. The town is a huge aid station that gets the runner on down the road. It is a scenic trek from there to Martin where a splash pad can refresh the runner with some cold water springing from the park surface.  Now, the race (or trek) has really started.                                                                                                                                                               

As each foot strike sends shock waves through the body, the runner’s head is bouncing details about the immediate future hours off the walls of the skull. Details concerning food, energy expenditure, fluids, places to rest, motels, convenience stores, darkness, to be invisible or visible in that darkness, chafing, bugs, sunburn, traffic, the day’s goal, to run with others or run alone, heat, humidity, rain, not forgetting to check in, phone charged, sleep, miles ran and miles to run are bouncing around inside of the skull. Yep, that’s the pinging you feel in your head and can’t figure out from where it is coming.                                                                                                                                   

The landscape gently rolls as the runners runs deeper into northwest Tennessee. Farm land still dominates the roadside. The picturesque town of Dresden greets the runner with an aid station and rest area. But, the runner has to decide to rest or move along down the road. A compromise is made, and after some refreshment, the runner is on the road again.                                                                                                                                                                                          And so it goes. The road offers darkness where the runner hears frogs bellowing and sounding eerily like a human voice in the wooded darkness. The black sky may delight the roadster with bright pin points of light and an occasional shooting star. Possibly, the moon will bathe the road in a soft glow. It can be strangely peaceful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The runner will pass through the cooler air of night and the promise of morning as the miles pass. The day will bring heat, odors, traffic, and some “road angels” here and there. Those angels will give the runner a restful respite and some refreshment to energize the physical and bolster the belief in human goodness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After Dresden the runner will trek into the small town of Gleason with its welcomed aid station at the firehouse. Leaving Gleason, the runner will head south along the old version of state road 22 that parallels the newer version somewhere off to the left. Both will merge on the other side of McKenzie, a larger small town. Then Huntington, Clarksburg, and I-40 at Parkers Crossroads. Some will seek refuge in a motel at this point. Other will relentlessly move on toward Lexington and the big left turn onto US 412. Then things get interesting.                                                                                                                                                                                       After this many miles, approximately ninety-four, a pattern will have been set by the runner as to running, walking and taking breaks and sleeping. The pattern may last for a good distance or may be abandoned for an adaptation. Patterns come and go depending on the various elements of the race…such as fatigue, weather, and fuel. And, the mental state of the runner will determine his or her immediate future for the still long road ahead.                                                                                                                                                                                              Passing through the wide spots of Chesterfield and Darden, it’s straight into Parsons with its Sonic awaiting. Then, in my opinion (which is usually of no importance to anyone) is the worst stretch of the race. That is from Parsons to the Tennessee River. Rolling hills; hardly any shoulder to run on make this stretch a dismal one. Plus the on coming traffic and heat (when I usually get there) add to the challenge. Ah…Vol State! You gotta love it!                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aid awaits on the other side of the river at Fat Man’s. After that, there are still some rolling hills leading into Linden, but this stretch isn’t as bad as Parson to the river so it offers some respite. Linden will be a welcomed temporary destination.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And, the road keeps calling through heat, sunburn, hills, fatigue and other maladies. Through Hohenwald with motels and stores, Hampshire with its deli, and the big town of Columbia with everything. Culleoka, I-65, and another big town of Lewisburg, also with everything. After that, Wheel with a pavilion shade and water and then Bedford with its market and onto the next major oasis of Shelbyville.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The runner is really into the race after 225 miles. The runner can smell the finish line from here. The terrain is more forgiving, but the miles still stretch out there…waiting…and waiting. An open stretch of road leads the runner into Wartrace, home of the classic Strolling Jim ultra. It is very picturesque leaving Wartrace heading into Manchester. Manchester will give the runner a lot of aid opportunities. Also, the odor of the finish line will get stronger.                                                                                                                                                                                          Once past I-24 on the other side of Manchester, the runner will be in the most and scenic and enjoyable part of the route (in my opinion, about which I’ve told you) as he or she treks through tiny Hillsboro, Pelham and up the mountain into Monteagle. In Monteagle and somewhat after that, aid is available. The course is enjoyable traipsing along the spine of the mountain into Tracy City and beyond, and “beyond” has a store serving burgers and such. It will be America at its best, and it is out there on the back roads and small towns.                                                                                                                                                                                      The runner knows he or she is going to make it to the Rock at this point barring unforeseen calamity. It’s down the long, challenging grade to Steve Smalling of the Chattanooga Track Club and his aid station. That aid station alone can get the runner to the Rock. This is the outskirts of Jasper with the mountain behind. Ah, so close. But, not there yet.                                                                                                                                                                                              Kimball, South Pittsburg, and the blue bridge crossing the Tennessee River the last time tells the runner that there are about eleven miles left. A piece of cake…as the runner passes through New Hope headed for the right turn that leads into Alabama…and a helluva hill going up and up and up looking for that state line. It’s about three miles in the upward plane. The runner will run, walk, stop, run again knowing the finish is near. Then, a left turn and straight into Georgia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               It doesn’t matter what place the runner is in at this point. What really matters is the questions that kept popping up in the runner’s mind as he accepted the ongoing challenge of the distance. Footstep after footstep brings the reality of accomplishing the deed into focus. The mental focus on the simplicity of the run is gaining importance. Daily details fade in the last strides up the mountain and into the corn fields and give way to the human animal doing what he or she was meant to do. Run.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That will be Vol State…if one doesn’t die (or worse…just give up and quit) somewhere between the Mississippi River in Missouri and Castle Rock in Georgia.

Richard Westbrook                                                                                                  westbrookrunning.com