Legend has it that at the very first FlatRock 50k, a road marathon runner, who had underestimated the trail, collapsed on a large limestone bluff overlooking Elk City Lake with only a few miles until the finish. As the physically exhausted, mentally overwhelmed, and emotionally broken runner lay gasping and sobbing by the trail, a hoard of hungry buzzards descended upon him. Although his flesh was being torn and devoured, he squealed with glee to be carried off the trail that had chewed him up and swallowed him, only to regurgitate him back onto the jagged rocks. Workers at the finish line that fall day back in 1995 tell tales of seeing a dark cloud of feathers flying above and listening to a mix of screams, agony and the relieved hysterical laughter of a madman! Legend has it that a single severed arm fell from the pack of buzzards as they carried off their meal catching on the finish line pop-up, dangling and swinging for all finishers to see as they came across finish line. The arm became a reminder to never underestimate this trail and swings on the finish line every year offering “high fives” to those strong-willed enough to have persevered and conquered “The Rock!”.
Ok, actually I made that shit up. All of it but the hand hanging at the finish. The hand is there – every year – hanging at the finish, welcoming runners across the finish with a high five or a handshake. It is one of the many things that I love about the FlatRock 50K. The Hand, the Honorary Knights of “The Coveted Hall of Pain” and the knighting ceremony, retired numbers on cloth bibs with lifetime free entry to ice the cake, the clock in the rocks, and the trike in the tree are ALL things that totally set this race apart. Eric Steele, the undisputed “King of Flatrock” – complete with his cape, crown, and wielding a broadsword – performs the knighting ceremony for a runner with 10 consecutive FlatRock 50k finishes…. it is all so unique and awesome. I can’t wait to see what happens with the Triple Crown recipients! I wouldn’t be surprised by much at this point, but I am sure it will be amazing. Only a few days until my 3rd FlatRock 50k (I also did the 101K read about it here) and I couldn’t be more excited. This truly is a world class event, I’ll see you all there!
Oh, and in case you are wondering how the hand actually DID come about, I plan on finding out! So stay tuned. Until next time, BE EPIC