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“You know, this is a race, right? Shouldn’t you get going?”

Sunday, March 24, 2013

That was the advice of an 8 year old volunteer to 2 “ultra” runners who were lingering at our aid station. It was an “ultra” (50k) trail race on Terrapin Mountain yesterday.

For “ultra” events (greater than marathon distance), the aid stations are well stocked with high calorie foods to fuel the runners in such a grueling event. In addition to the distance (30 miles in this case), the change in elevation is significant. It’s a MOUNTAIN!

My daughter (Hayburner on SP) was the station captain and organized our team of 10 volunteers who ranged in age from 6 to 65 (me). She’s a veteran ultra runner, but not participating this year. We were all first time volunteers.

We were all set up before the 7 am start. It was about 24* but a beautiful sunrise.

That’s my daughter and granddaughter on the right.
Notice that along with water and sports drinks, bananas, oranges, sandwiches and crackers, there was an ample supply of candy and cookies, chips, pretzels and goldfish. Aid stations must provide other necessities as well for an endurance race like this – bandaids, aspirin, even toilet paper.

It was also our job to record each racer’s number and time as they ran by. When you’re out in the forest, it’s important to confirm that no one has disappeared from the course.

The runners came by our station twice at 7.2 and at 13.3 miles. The last person checked in at 10:45. By the time we packed up to leave, it was still below freezing. The runners still had 17 miles to go.

It was a very cold 4 hours for us even when wearing lots of layers but a wonderful experience. Ultra runners are the happiest, friendliest people. Everyone thanked us for coming out to support them and they all seemed to be having such a good time.

As for the 2 recipients of the 8 year old’s advice, they laughed and accepted her concern in the spirit in which it was offered.
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