An account from Don Winkley on the Ulist from the '95 Trans am:
Many of you probably donâ€™t know but there were four well organized Trans Am runs in 92-95. I have already posted that I had the privilege to run Trans Am in 1995. Lets consider the rules. Mandatory check in at 4:50 AM each and every day for 64 days in a row. The clock started at 5:00AM you could start running then. The turn sheet showed each and every turn and in BOLD letters on the final page the cut off time. You were not allowed in the car at any time until the finish. No one was allowed to run with you except your fellow Trans Am competitors. Finish time was based on a min of 3.5 miles/hr each and every day. Being the caboose - each day I tried to arrive at 35 miles in 9 hrs so I would have an hour up on cutoff so I could possibly walk it in to the finish.
Fast forward to Illinois - where our current friend is about to cross. Well in 1995 they took it easy on us in the dessert and mountains so by the time we were in Illinois we had to make up mileage. This required 6 back to back basically 60 miles per day runs. The aging runner - which I was at age 57 is unlikely to get stronger in Trans Am - there was plenty of evidence. So my task of 6 back to back 60 mile days - was Herculean.
It was hot in southern Illinois running thru the corn fields on both sides of the road, no shade, no wind - only the heat rising on the road ahead making it look like running toward a continuous puddle. I tried to not think of distance and used my body as sort of a sun dial. As my shadow got longer I knew that darkness would arrive and eventually I would find the finish line. I didnâ€™t need water for the last 5 miles in those long days, it was dark and sort of cooler - so I told my crew to go forward to the finish.
At my instructions they parked my van right at the finish line. My arrival was sometimes met with only one person to record my time - barely within cutoff. Dusan made my day one evening as he rung the latter - hard to describe briefly but it made an awesome sound. Realize Dusan has probably finished 6 hrs or more ahead of me, showered, napped, eaten dinner, had beers with his crew, and somehow decided to greet me at the finish. Priceless
Well - remember I had the van parked just at the finish line. Immediately upon finishing I crawled into the van without a shower and my crew had my dinner on my bed. They awoke me one morning and my face was in the uneaten plate of food, food in my mouth and my hand holding a fork. "Time to get up Don and sign the log". "Todayâ€™s stage is 60 miles." Without changing clothing or shoes - crawled out of the van and began just another 60 mile day. Some runners set their 6 day PRâ€™s during this stretch of Trans Am.
As I approached NY on that final day, my crew lady meet me crying real tears. She said she had given me aid 1486 times during the race and this was the last aid station. It brought tears to my eyes also. That the caboose arrived in the final station in NY simply a miracle. 64 day stage race, average 46 miles/day I finished!