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 working of the Heart of the South Road Race, the brainchild of Gary Cantrell, recognized in the ultrarunning world as Lazarus Lake.

Since the mid-1980s, Cantrell, a bearded, Camel-smoking ultrarunner from Tennessee, has been creating among 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 folks have accomplished Cantrell’s Barkley Marathons, a 100-mile enterprise over unmarked terrain in the Cumberland Mountains in japanese Tennessee.

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

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

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