A few weeks ago, TXKToday had the opportunity to interview Vincent L. Gulley of Hope, Arkansas before his 74 mile race that was set to take place on New Year’s Day in honor and memory of his grandmother. This past Saturday, not only did Vincent run his 74 miles, but he ran an extra mile in honor of his mothers 75th birthday, for a total run time of just shy of 24 hours.
“My crew and I woke up at 3:30AM Saturday morning. We fed ourselves, loaded up the car with gear and supplies and made it to my grandmothers lot by 5:35AM. Before starting my race I prayed over my grandmothers lot where I was able to experience freedom from my anger, hurt, guilt and revenge. When we left my grandmother’s lot we headed towards the Fair Grounds, which would house our Aid Station for the next 18 hours. There are several individuals I feel I need to thank, because without them and their support, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this goal. I want to thank: Loria Singleton, Tracy Turner, Elisa Norman, Bruce Norman, and Rachel Norman, as well as those who ran with me throughout the race. My uncle Clifton Peevy and my mother Ethel L. Peevy Gulley came out Saturday to encourage me throughout the race and I want to ensure they know how thankful I am for them,” said Gulley.
The weather on Saturday wasn’t ideal for the race. In fact throughout the race, the weather changed significantly for Vincent. He began his race at 6AM, and throughout the day it rained, froze, dried off, and the temperature changed several times throughout this journey. Throughout the day Vincent had several friends and running buddies run with him, encouraging him, and supporting him. “Jose Alvarez started the run with me and gave me so much support. Brad Taylor came and paced me for about 8.5 miles. Andres Alvarez, the 12 year old son of Jose, came and ran with me for about 3 miles in the rain! Laurentina Huerta, mother of Jose, ran 28 miles with me! In fact she ran through rain and weather changes, and even when I asked her to stop, she refused! Antonio Puente came and ran with me for about 8.5 miles. The only person that I had met before the race on Saturday was Jose. The other individuals that came and helped me honor my grandmother, are ones I met while I was running. It was an absolutely incredible display of love shown by everyone,” said Vincent.
The 74 mile journey for Vincent wasn’t easy. The weather caused extremely cold temperatures, but throughout the race Vincent remained strong. Vincent started the race with a cramp in his leg, and through the hard work and dedication of those in the Aid Station, they were able to massage him quickly and get him back on the road. Throughout the day his encouragers made sure he had food, electrolytes and everything that he needed. Several of his family members came out in support of Vincent. Several visitors ran with Vincent, even in the extreme changes in the weather. By the evening, a huge storm looked as though it was going to make its way into the area so the Aid Station packed up and waited in a vehicle for Vincent, and others decided to go home. But Vincent didn’t stop. By 3:30AM all Vincent could do was walk. It was dark outside and some of his helpers got out in the cold weather with him and walked as much as they could. “I was told I could give up, but that if I did I would regret it for the rest of my life. So I kept going. In fact I had encouragers walking with me until I hit the 73rd mile. That’s when I turned to them and told them I needed to be alone so I could finish,” said Vincent.
That’s exactly what Vincent did. Not only did he find the strength internally to finish his 74 miles, but his legs started moving and he ran the last few miles. “On the 74th mile I was silent for 30 seconds to honor the memory of my grandmother. Somehow at the end of the 74th mile, I ran one more mile in honor of my mothers 75th birthday. At about 5:53AM love carried me through to the finish line. I have two blisters on my right foot, my knees are swollen, and I ache all over. I feel like someone took my body and put it in a human sized cup and shook me up for a few hours, and then afterwards asked me to walk. But I did it. When people come together in love, no matter their ethnicity, it is beautiful and amazing. I feel like I have accomplished the power of love. I am the Grandson of Pauline Byrd Peevy!” said Vincent.
Congratulations to Vincent on his amazing journey and this amazing accomplishment. We at TXKToday wish you the fastest recovery possible, and admire your dedication and strength to have accomplished such an amazing goal. A special thanks to Tracy Turner for sending TXKToday the story of Vincent L. Gulley and his incredible journey to 74 miles.