With 50k race champ Will Gotthardt. That mug says "First Place". Now is it just me or is there more fat in my head alone than his entire body? No seriously look again. Yes I'm wearing my "Western States" finisher's shirt. I just wanted to fit in you know, let people know I also ran trails. Yeah ok I was showing off a bit, that's allowed occasionally right?
For the photoset, click here.
So this was the race last weekend. Not this past but the one before, ok just wanted to make that clear. It turned out to be a hot day. When I left at 6:30AM for Pacifica it was already warm, no wind and no fog to speak of. Folks who are from here or are familiar with San Francisco know how rare that is. I could have walked to my car with my shirt off and be ok, no don't visualize that, only my legs look good. Visualize me in shorts. It was going to be a hard day and it was.
My first job was manning the registration tent with Jon Olsen and Flora Krivak-Tetley. A sweet post because I got to catch up with some of my friends. I also finally had a chance to talk with Jon Olsen. I've heard of his accomplishments, seen him in a couple of races but never met him in person. It was a busy morning. There was a big turnout for the run but many people were changing their distances. The 21k folks wanting to drop to the 9k, the 30k to the 21k and the 50k to the 30k. Very few wanted to move up. There were also a lot of no shows. The race consisted of a 9.3k loop and an 11.6k loop, the loops you did and how many depended on the distance you signed up for.
After registration we set up the aid stations, there were two and both were at the start finish. One aid station catered to the finishers, the other for the runners. There was no need for an aid station out on the course because of the loop format. I worked the aid for the runners. It was the usual duties; preparing food, snacks and liquids. Because of the heat we also had the extra duty of managing the ice. We ran out of our initial supply quick but volunteers got more. We also had runners like Miki and Jean who after finishing their race put in some volunteer hours. Miki went out on an ice run and came back with 21 bags!
Seeing the finish line so many times definitely messed with some of the 50k folks, a good number called it a day before they got all their miles done. The heat wore on everyone. My friend Ed didn't look so good from the very first loop but he hung in there. He didn't look any better as the race progressed but he didn't look any worse. He suffered not being trained for the heat despite having trained on the course, he lives in Pacifica. He persevered and finished however and he'll never look at those hills the same way again, haha. Welcome to ultra Eddie, you did great.
Lots of other stories that day, some I already forgot but here are a few.
A young runner named Josh who sprinted hard and wild for the finish after completing 21k, we cheered. One problem, he signed up for the 30k. When he came to our aid station he had an incredulous look on his face, couldn't believe he wasn't done. Took a lot to rally and go back out but he did it.
A 50k runner who ran in surfing shorts and a thick long sleeve shirt, almost like a sweater. Older gentleman built like a fireplug. I was gonna say something but thought the better of it, maybe he was heat training. Guy turned out to be Josh's dad. Josh after finishing his race gave his dad his finishers t-shirt to change into. Dad went on to be the last official finisher, it was his first 50k and was super thankful to his son for the shirt. He was like "man, what a difference that shirt made!".
A female runner who came to us with a bloody knee. She was very tall and very soft spoken. I'm 5'-4" and had a hard time hearing her. Damn my short legs. We patched her up and she went on her way but we left the blood on. We never saw her again and presumed she dropped. Guys when you drop from a race, tell someone, don't just leave. Anyway there were lots of bloody knees and hands that day but it's not a technical course. It was probably the heat.
There was the case of two female runners, young, probably mid-20's. One of them gets our attention because the other was not doing so well after the 11k loop, they signed up for the 20k. The runner was dehydrated and a bit dazed. It was her first trail run and the hills plus the heat beat her up a bit. Friend continues and asks us to keep an eye out on her. Dazed runner is laid out on one of the picnic tables and we give her fluids and ice. 20 minutes later dazed runner is a new person, "un-drops" and goes back out on the course and finishes the race.
A 50k'er named Brian who couldn't believe his second 50k finish came at over 8 hours. He said his first only took 6.5 hours. So I shared with him the story of my first two 50ks. My first was the Headlands 50k, touted as a very hilly, hard race and not recommended for first timers. Scroll down to the elevation chart. I finished that baby in 5:45. Two weeks later I show up all rested and confident like at PCTR's Mt. Diablo 50k and finished sometime after 8 hours. I couldn't believe it either. Welcome to PCTR Brian, it won't be the first time you'll leave one of their races shaking your head, hahaha. Come back! They are just really good at dishing out some tough love.
Well there you have it. Another great day on the trails and I didn't run a single mile.