A hot night for a race; high humidity; the nicest runners. All nice and polite as they hit our Aid Station twice; many hurting with turned stomachs and beat up quads, but they never directed that toward us.
The runners encountered us as Aid Station # 2 on their way in. They have just climbed 12 miles up a dirt/gravel Forest Road. We are surprised to have three runners as the 'lead pack'. We get their water/Coke issues taken care of and direct them to finally, trail.
The second group is just a few minutes behind, surprisingly. Last year, Jeremy Ramsay was all by himself in the lead, but not this year.
Now the runners are coming in rather steadily.This is the time where they just want their packs filled up. We are dancing around trying to get to everyone in a timely manner. I curse the new Nathan Hydration Packs, with their weird slide across/clippy thing bladders. These bladders are a pain in the ass. I need to email Nathan my displeasure. I had an old Nathan bladder that had a screw on lid; these are much easier to fill up and reseal than these new ones!
Chris comes through. Chris is a noob. He's never run a marathon, ultra. Since we're at around mile 12, he is almost to his longest distance ever (which I would guess is the 1/2 marathon.) You gotta love the spirit that decides to just jump into an all night trail 50 mile race, in West Virginia!
Things settle down. I go and rest in my vehicle. It's one am. Our lead pack should be back around 230 am.
I set the alarm for 215 am. It's more resting than any shut eye.
Our first runner comes through. It's Frank Gonzalez, on his way to the course record. He just wants water and he's gone.
A little later, Jeremy Ramsay comes by. We tell him he can catch Frank, and he laughs. He is in a good mood and even stays for a cup of hot potato soup before he meanders down the trail.
On the way back, runners are not coming through that quickly.
On their way back, they had 7.2 miles to the next aid station..I stopped dropping the " 0.2" early on.
I also made sure I told them 7 miles to the next AS..not really what they wanted to hear, but I wanted to make sure they grabbed some calories with full water bottles before they left us. Only had to scold a few about water bottles. Food I left to their discretion...made sure they knew what we had, tried to push some things to them.
A shorter race (like 50 milers or under) is different than a 100 mile AS. I only had one person sit down during this 50 miler, and she was attending to a blister. Of course, there were AS workers sleeping in the other chairs, so that probably helped lol. But generally, during a 100 mile AS, I will literally put the cup of soup/hydration in a runner's hand...and they will generally try to intake some of it.
This year's Cheat Mountain 50 miler was HOT and humid. I put on long pants and a sweater and didn't really need it. The temps, even at 530 am, was not that cool. Runners were still coming in, totally sweated up at 5am in the morning with stomach issues. They didn't want to eat much, and I tried not to push. Next year, if I am working the same AS, I will have chicken broth along with potato soup, to try and coax some folks to eat.
The back of the pack was huge this year, maybe 15 to 20 folks rolling in within minutes of each other.
All very pleasant. Really, I can't think of another AS that I have worked where folks were so nice. They mentioned how they couldn't run downhill any more, that they couldn't eat, nothing sounded good; but it was not whining complaining. All runners thanked us as they headed out.
Oh, and our newby Chris?? He revisited us! We remembered him, got him some water and food, and sent him on his way to his first ultra finish. I am pretty sure this is
Christopher Bates 26 M 12:39:49.8
Congratulations Chris! Great finish at a tough 50 mile event! Hope to see you at many more!