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500K: Corydon resident races across Tennessee

500K: Corydon resident races across Tennessee
500K: Corydon resident races across Tennessee
Shannon Burke, of Corydon, hits the asphalt on a 314-mile foot-race through Tennessee in July. She completed the Vol-State Road Race in 10 days. (click for larger version)

While most families use their summer vacation time to venture to Florida or some other sunny spot on the beach or water, one Corydon resident spent 10 days in the hot July heat traveling the width of Tennessee (west to east), all on foot.
Last month, Shannon Burke competed in the 32nd ‘last annual’ Vol-State Road Race, a 500K (314-mile) foot-race beginning in Dorena Landing, Mo., and finishing at Castle Rock, Ga.
The race is one of the oldest and longest of its kind and will continue to be held despite it’s ‘last annual’ moniker.
The last annual name is sort of a joke, given because a different route is used most years, but the current route has been used six times or so.
Runners are divided into two divisions: the aided and unaided, or ‘crewed’ and ‘uncrewed.’
Aided runners have a crew with them, including a vehicle, which provides food and water, while the unaided runners rely only on what they can find and purchase along the way.
Burke was an unaided runner.
‘I wanted to try it,’ she said. ‘It was a really good test.’
Burke attempted the race last year but said she didn’t make it very far. She was, however, one of 13 participants who finished in the official 10-day time limit last month.
Burke said one contestant, a 74-year old, completed the race in 13 days. The winner, Dan Fox of Seattle, finished in a little more than five days. Burke’s time was eight days, 13 hours, 13 minutes and 36 seconds. The most she traveled in one day was 45 miles in 17-1/2 hours.
‘It was a struggle,’ she said.
The course record is held by Dewayne Satterfield, a mathematician at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. In 2009, he completed the trek in three days and 17 hours.
The ultimate, overall winner is dubbed the ‘King of the Road’ for the year.
Burke had extra motivation this year: she carried her father’s ashes with her after he passed away in February.
‘He wanted his ashes spread at Fort Benning; I got as close as I could,’ she said.
For practice leading up to the race, Burke would run from her home outside of Corydon to her workplace in Brandenburg (KORT Physical Therapy), a 12-and-1/2-mile trip.
The hardest weather battle wasn’t the heat, she said, but, instead, was the rain that fell for two days.
‘I had to buy six extra pairs of socks,’ she said. ‘And I wore flip-flops during the rain.’
She also said she had difficulty making herself eat during the race but she knew she had to even if she didn’t feel like it.
Burke said she made some really good friends while competing in the race and in the racing community in general.
The Burkes have lived in Corydon for nearly three years.
‘We love it,’ she said.
She said they often hike into town and get ice cream at Shireman’s.