Gilbert Gray finishes the 2020 Last Annual Vol State 500K Race (LAVS 500) last week in 7 days, 19 hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds which started on July 9, 2020 in Dorena Landing, Missouri, USA and with the Finish Line located in Castle Rock, Georgia. He finished this race without any support crew and he registered for this race as Uncrewed or popularly known as “Screwed” runner. This is his second time to finish this race as a “screwed” runner where he improved his finish time by one day, from 204: 48+hours (or 8 days & 12 hours) in the 2015 Vol State Edition. In this year’s edition, out of the 66 runners who started the race, 49 runners finished the race and 17 runners declared as DNF.
The Last Annual Vol State 500K Road Run (LAVS 500K) is one of the road ultra races which is organized and directed by Lazarus Lake of Barkley Marathons, held during the summer months of July every year. One month before this race, another Ultra Race called The Last Annual Heart Of The South 500K Road Race (HOTS 500), was also held which is also organized and directed by Lazarus Lake. These road races usually traverse the State of Tennessee, USA from the western boundary with Missouri, USA or Arkansas, USA to the Northwest part of Georgia, USA. These two ultra races were held despite the Covid-19 situation in the USA. These two races had an identical number of starters which was 66 runners.
The LAVS 500K and HOTS 500K has a cut-off time of 10 days to finish where every runner has to inform the Race Director/Organizer on his/her location every 12 hours through SMS. Each runner does not carry any “tracker” along the way and there are support crew of the other runners who would update the location of the runners by posting pictures and videos on the Facebook Group Page of the event, this is to include the so-called “angels” along the route of the race. These “angels” are the ones that give voluntary aid or help to the runners in terms of allowing them to rest and eat in their front yard or in government/state facilities like Fire Stations and Parks.
Gilbert Gray, a Retired Airman in the US Air Force, lives in Maryland, USA and he is married to a Filipina Lady with two daughters. He now works with a US Airline Company. At 58 years old, he had finished a number of Ultra Races to include being the Overall Champion in one of the Ultra Races in Europe. He is a two-time BDM GrandSlam Awardee; Finisher of the Prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race; and a yearly Finisher of the JFK 50-Mile Race. You can see the Ultra Races that he finished here.
Although he comes regularly to the Philippines with his wife for a visit, the last time that we saw each other was in the 2014 edition of the Bryce 100-Mile Endurance Race in Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA, together with Paul Encarnacion, a Filipino Ultrarunner who also lives in Maryland, USA and multi-awarded 100-mile finisher. During his training for the 2013 edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race (WS100), he visited California to recon the route of the WS100 and then a day later, he joined me and other Pinoy Runners in the LA area in the 2013 edition of the Bandit 50K Ultra Trail Run where we finished at the same time.
Gilbert will always be a good friend of the local ultrarunners in the Philippines, most specially with the PAU runners. He is very kind, very helpful, and very simple and silent about his ultrarunning accomplishments. I just hope I would be able to meet him again in the future.
In our local races, PAU had also conducted its first 500K+ road race last June 2019 with the First Edition of the Manila To Pagudpud 580K Ultramarathon Race which had a cut-off time of 135 hours or 5 days and 15 hours. This race is officially considered as the longest road race in the country now. The result of this event could be seen here.
For additional reading about the the LAVS 500, you can read it here.