“Not Your Average 50k Race”
You will see that phrase as soon as you log on to the official website for the Promise Land 50k, for obvious reasons. Saturday, April 26th marked the 8th annual running of this beautiful race that is “maybe the most scenic in the nation,” boasts the race director, David Horton. You will find few runners that have participated in this event who would disagree with this statement.
The event begins in the Promise Land Youth Camp between Bedford and Big Island, Virginia. This is the 2nd race in the Lynchburg Ultrarunning series, sandwiched between the Holiday Lake 50k in February and the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Run in November. Those who are brave enough add on the Hellgate 100k in December to make this the ‘Horton Slam.’
There is limited crew access with the exception of Sunset Fields, the aid station at miles 11.9 and 26.7, however the views from this course make a crewless runner able to survive the nearly 8,000 foot climb and descent. This year’s winner were Sean Andrish, 38, finishing in 4:44:03 and Justine Morrison, 28, just a little less than an hour behind him at 5:42:52.
The icing on the cake was at the race’s finish, when torrential downpours left many runner’s cars stuck in the parking lot. The true spirit of ultrarunners was alive in this moment as many accomplished athletes exited their vehicles to help push other cars out of the mud, laughing and smiling about their 31 mile victory.
article by: Summer Wesson