She Was in a Grueling 340-Mile Race. Then Came a Highway, and an S.U.V.

Thomas Grinovich does. A fellow participant in the race, he was making an attempt to cross Highway 72 with McCoy. One second, he mentioned, McCoy was near his left shoulder, midway throughout the darkish, large roadway. The subsequent, a headlight, the roar of an engine, then a horrific, pounding thud.

“When I get the flashbacks,” he mentioned, “that sound is what I hear.”

On June 18, McCoy and Grinovich have been among the many 66 runners who set off from West Memphis, Ark., for the inaugural operating of the Heart of the South Road Race, the brainchild of Gary Cantrell, identified in the ultrarunning world as Lazarus Lake.

Since the mid-1980s, Cantrell, a bearded, Camel-smoking ultrarunner from Tennessee, has been creating a few of the world’s hardest occasions. His competitions are extra journeys than races, ones many runners by no means end. In the previous three a long time, solely 15 individuals have accomplished Cantrell’s Barkley Marathons, a 100-mile enterprise over unmarked terrain in the Cumberland Mountains in jap Tennessee.

As ultrarunning — any race longer than a 26.2-mile marathon — has turn out to be extra standard, the game’s hard-core practitioners have pushed the boundaries of the game and human endurance. Races that stretch greater than 200 miles over a number of days are now not unusual.

Catastrophic accidents and collisions with automobiles are uncommon in ultrarunning, although the feeling of dodging dying — from publicity, exhaustion, dehydration and even an encounter with a bear, a mountain lion, a rattle snake or dashing visitors — could be a a part of the enchantment. But McCoy’s accident, crossing a freeway after 5 infinite days of operating, raises the query of whether or not this race was a take a look at of rigor or recklessness.

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