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Richardson: 314-Mile Vol State was “Life-Altering’

Better foot care and mental conditioning, coupled with experience, made it possible for Jarrod Richardson to complete last month’s grueling 314-mile Vol State walk across Tennessee, but it was the memory of a life tragically cut short that kept him going.

For the second time in four years, Jarrod disembarked from a ferry on this side of the Mississippi River, opposite the starting point of Dorena Landing, Missouri, and began this long journey that would end at The Rock atop Sand Mountain in northern Georgia.

His first attempt was in 2020; Jarrod covered 92 miles in 48 hours on the road before trouble with his feet forced him to drop out and come home.

And while he says he was in better physical condition for that first try, this round he “took time for foot care and it made all the difference. Plus, I didn’t want another DNF [did not finish]” beside his name, Jarrod told the Review.

Proper foot care, Jarrod said, became his number one concern this time because of what he learned the hard way in 2020:

“On the first attempt, the entire bottom of my foot was blistered. I had some blisters on my toes due to heat, but other than that I didn’t really get many blisters in 2020 until I was caught in thunderstorms three days in a row.”

The race has been longtime goal of Richardson’s, who is an avid runner (though he walked the Vol State). Jarrod said he has watched the participants come through Perry County for years on the Highway 412 route, and he wondered if he could make it.

So, how did he prepare for Vol State 2023?

“My preparation and training were different on this attempt. I was unable to do all the training I wanted to do, but my mental state was much better prepared for what was ahead. I had so much support, prayers, and people sending me encouraging messages. That really helped keep me going. I didn’t want to let anyone down.”

Despite all the readiness, difficulty struck early—on the second day—when Jarrod woke with a sick stomach.

“I’m not sure if it was …………….


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