About the event
On the Thursday before Labor Day Weekend of 2023, ultramarathoners will once again descend on Fred Deadman Park in Manchester, Tennessee. Led by a contingent of wheezing geezers, over a hundred of America’s finest foot warriors will circle the famed Deadman Mile for days on end come September 2023, culminating in the grand finish and banquet at noon on Monday, Sept 5.
All runners 41 and over will be allotted a number of hours equal to those hard-earned years of age in which to accumulate as many miles as possible. All the kids, 40 years, and below, will compete over the final 40 hours of the race. The winner will be the runner with the most miles accumulated by the finish. In contrast to most ultras, where the old guys must settle for a place at the rear, if they can make the time limit at all, the ARFTA is dominated by the super veterans of the sport. In 2019, 34 participants 70 years old and over completed over 100 miles and 1 participant ,74 years old completed 230 miles! This is one race where the older guys are right in the running up until the very end. The footspeed may have diminished with the passing of the years, but the fires of competition still burn bright.
Of course it is not the competition which has made this event an instant classic. It is the stories. In the perfect setting of a one mile loop through the park, today’s ultrarunners have the opportunity to spend time with the legends and heroes of the long ago past of the sport. And the old guys and gals have the opportunity to rekindle old friendships (and rivalries) and to rehash the old days. The stories they have to tell are not tales immortalized on the internet, instead they exist only in the memories of those who were there. For all the hundreds of miles that are logged, and the fierce battles sometimes waged for position, it is the celebration of life atmosphere that has made the ARFTA a must-do event. Fathers and mothers sharing miles with daughters and sons as well as grandparents sharing miles with grandsons and granddaughters; these are moments too special to miss.
We rent most of the park for the duration of the event, and among the features of the race are: Ice is provided for purchase at the ICE HOUSE on the premises for $3.00 per bag. Usually set up next to the building not far from the start/finish area. Hot meals served every 6 hours (this is not aid station food, but fine southern cuisine catered by the local Cracker Barrel.) Additional meal plans may be purchased for crew members. The meals come prepackaged for each individual with whatever is on the menu that day. A mealtime rush is not necessary as you may take with you to your tent or eat at the pavilions. A friendly reminder to allow the aid station volunteers time to set it up before you stop by to grab and go.
There are real indoor bathrooms located on the course (the value of which cannot be overstated in a multiday run!) There will also be portapotties next to the park entrance after you pass the start/finish line.
Accommodations are available at a full range of motels within 1 mile of the park, for crews, or runners wishing to sleep in a “real bed.” Ample camping is available on site, with prime camping spots situated around the Deadman Mile.
This is a small park with limited parking. The course is in the parking lot as well as through the park. We have the pavilions reserved but not the whole park itself. Locals come enjoy the park throughout the event. Baseball and tennis is also going on at the same time. They have been very graciuos each year and share with us! With that being said. Campers! We are asked every year about campers. A camper is allowed in the back parking area near the back ball field. See the map attached to this site. IF YOUR CAMPER FITS IN ONE PARKING SPOT THEN IT IS ALLOWED. The standard parking space is 8.5 feet wide by 18 feet long to give you an idea of the size.
There is plenty of camping space to set up a tent and all of your supplies. Not on the course itself but close to it!
There is a facebook group for the ARFTA: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1443235495936999/
Or you can send your questions below.
Any runners over 70 years of age with financial limitations precluding their entry should e-mail me, so that we can work something out. This is your day(s) in the sun, and we want to see you here! Last year we had 17 starters the age of 70 and older. 10 of them logged in excess of 100 miles, three of which were 80 and older!! Last year 3 participants went 200 plus. However, you do not need to aim for such a lofty goal, if you do not wish. It is perfectly all right to just come to share the weekend with your peers. What we most want is to see you here.
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