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Monday, August 4, 2008

Burning River Happy Days Aid Station Report

Waiting for the runners to come in


Teamwork!! That's Shames, on Moose's shoulders, hooking up our electricity for the night
Cheryl is prepping cantelope while Zach checks for runners heading in


As I pulled into the parking lot at Happy Days in the C uyahoga Valley Natiolnal Park Syste, the delivery truck of supplies pulled in right behind me-perfect timing! As soon as t hey unloaded, the NEO Trail Contigency also pulled up and we began unloading and setting our our AS.
Happy Days is at Mile 70.3 of the Burning River 100. Our station is both a drop bag location and a pacer and crew access point, so we do get busy throughout the evening. We started a good system, though, last year, by cordoning off almost entirely our Aid Station to ONLY Runners. No family, crew, pacers hanging out waiting to pace, in our Aid Station. Some family and crew don't like this, and we estimated we probably pissed off about ten people (none of which were the runners.) But an aid station is for the CURRENT Runners (and pacers), not for the coming in runners. An AS is there to serve THE RUNNERS, nobody else. So it's much easier to cater to THE RUNNERS without lots of extra people milling around.
And cater to the runners we did. We had plenty of volunteers, so bottles were being taken from runners, filled with their choice of beverage. Runners were questioned on how they were feeling, drop bags fetched, food ladled out for them, cups of Coke held while they changed socks or wolfed down food.
With a local race, with your friends coming into the AS, sometimes it's hard to kick these people out. After I noticed Jerry still hanging out, I pretty much took him by the arm and led him out of the AS as he continued to talk! (Jerry, you spent 15 minutes at Happy Days!). Also, it seemed like many friends who looked well, bad last year, came through looking strong and happy-Opod, Paul, Mike George, Bruce-good to see you guys looking great! I was bummed to have missed Erie Tom somehow-I must have been in the portopotty or watching a runner on the cot-sorry Tom, but congrats on the finish!!

As the evening wore on, the runners came through and ate food! The cooler temps seemed to bring on an appetite-all good. All of us Aid Station workers kept putting on jackets, but it didn't get really chilly with us.

We had a very good group of workers. We would have 1-3 folks behind the table, ready to ladle up broth, noodles, mac & cheese, volunteers out front filling bottles, helping with drop bags. Someone would bellow out 'noodles and broth' and someone else would spring to get it ready-great teamwork gang!!

Our last five runners came through. One runner decided to end his night there. So our last runners were through our aid station-well before closing! I think they were at least 20 minutes or so before the cut off, so I didn't have to deal with any runners beyond the cut off time. Actually that idea didn't bother me, because I've been a runner whose timed out, so I could certainly understand their position. Our AS was actually dismantled and cleaned up and we were ready to leave by 2am!

Big thanks to all my Aid Station Workers-Jim, Heath, and Eric Harris, Bob & Shames Combs, Mike Keller, Elizabeth, James and Michael Sosan, Maria, Chef Bill Bailey, Moose, Brett and his wife Lesa, my parents, Jo and Jim Love, Cheryl Splain, Zach! Thanks for giving up a whole day out of your busy lives to support some crazy ultra runners-it was very appreciated!

14 comments:

  1. Kim,

    Thanks to you! You were a great and confident captain! I feel like we did a great job for our runners.

    Mikey

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  2. As a runner I would like to add my thanks. You all did awesome and got me through this. I know that we all appreciate all that you all did.
    Wes Gregg #59

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  3. Great aid station. Thanks for being there and taking the time to help us tired runners.

    I was definitely in better shape at Happy Days this year. Just don't ask about mile 46.

    And special thanks to Mike - "tick tock, tick tock".

    Paul

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  4. Great aid station. Thanks for being there and taking the time to help us tired runners.

    I was definitely in better shape at Happy Days this year. Just don't ask about mile 46.

    And special thanks to Mike - "tick tock, tick tock".

    Paul

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  5. Great job and nice report.

    Same here with the non-timeout runners. Though only at Station Road, there were none timed out there either.

    No doubt the (relatively) milder daytime temperature had a positive effect.

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  6. Oh Kim, I thought I'd finally meet you yesterday! I knew you'd have a rockin' aid station at HD and I'm so sorry I missed it. Thanks for the hours of volunteering and commitment to our "little" ultra-running community here in NE Ohio. You keep rockin'!

    Nick B.

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  7. Hey Kim, thanks for spending your weekend looking after us runners! I would have preferred to be on the course with you though! :-) I skipped your aid station since my daughter Jaclyn was crewing for me, so I went around the storm fence to the other end to where she was (after checking in like 20 times with Tanya grilling me about it, lol !!! Sheesh!). :-)

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  8. Kim,
    Thanks for your great station. Sorry I was in/out. Last year was still fresh in my mind so I needed to get down the trail. Everyone was super there. We can't do it without you guys!

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  9. kim...

    you guys perform such a great service...i am sure all the runners appreciated it..

    sorry work and racing and stuff got in the way of me joining in the fun...

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  10. Kim, great job and thanks for finding space for my family. The kids got in the way some but I think overall it still worked out. I just have to get those little kids under control :)
    Oh and it was Lesa.

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  11. Sounds like your aid station did great! It was good to see you out at our place for a bit before the madness ensued! Hope to see you on the trails soon!

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  12. Wow Paul, I am glad that helped!! I will remember that for future volunteering. Just don't expect me there next year, I WANT TO RUN!!!

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  13. Kim,

    Your aid station was awesome. Thanks for taking time to help. All the volunteers there were great. I felt a little pampered! All the aid stations were wonderful but there was some congestion at a few with people other than runners blocking the tables and such. Your set up was perfect. Too bad it got tough after that for me. If your familiar with the course, right after your aid station was a lot of cave like rocks. I thought it was actually a joke at first with the course going through those structures! Anyway I went downhill with an ankle problem about mile 75 and dealt with a lot of pain the rest of the way. I had to slow down drastically. It sucked to have a few people catch back up to me on the Covered Bridge loop and go on (Gabe, Roy and 2 girls).
    Oh well, I made it so I'll stop complaining. Thanks for all the support.
    Michelle Bichsel

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