Local Manchester Race has Participants Running for Days
By: MTN Reporter Roni Portzen
This coming week, hundreds of America’s finest ultramarathoners will come together in Manchester, Tennessee to compete in A Race for the Ages.
On Wednesday, marathoners of all ages will descend on Fred Deadman Park where they will circle the Deadman Mile for days on end. This race differs from other ultras. The ARFTA is dominated by the veterans of the sport. The winner of this race will be determined not by the runner who finishes first, but by the runner who has accumulated the most miles.
All runners 41 and over will be allotted a number of hours equal to their hard-earned years of age in which to accumulate as many miles as possible. Everyone 40 and under will compete over the final 40 hours of the race to try and accumulate as many miles as they can.
The entire park in Manchester will be rented out for the duration of this event. This race comes well equipped with essentials: Ice is provided for purchase at the ICE HOUSE on the premises for $2.00 per bag. Hot meals, catered by Cracker Barrel, will be served every 6 hours with vegan/regular options. Ample food is provided so that hot food should be available at any time you wish to eat. The selection changes every 6 hours. The runners can also camp on site near the Deadman Mile, or if they wish to have a “real bed” there are plenty of accommodations within 1 mile of the park at a range of different motels.
At last year’s ARFTA, there were 17 starters over the age of 70 and 10 of them logged in over 100 miles and 3 participants logged in over 200 miles. The goal of this race is not to focus on winning, it’s about sharing your weekend with your peers. It’s not just the competition itself that has made this event so well known, it’s about the community and stories that come with it. People of all ages have the opportunity to gather together and share their stories. Today’s ultrarunners have the opportunity to spend time with legends of the sport and learn their stories that are not found on the internet but live only in memory. All of the hundreds of miles that are logged, and the battles waged for positions, is a celebration of life in the atmosphere that has made ARFTA a must-do event. This is a race where the older guys are right in the running up until the very end.