Adventures In Running

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pony Express Volunteer

I volunteered a week ago at the Pony Express 50 and 100 Mile Trail Run. I was so excited to be out there again – even bought myself a tent and sleeping pad.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and talked to Davy Crockett for a while. He was pretty bummed because his van had died a few miles pack and that was messing up a lot of his race plans. He said talking to me helped calm him down – so at least I was a little useful.

We set up a start corral and I was trained in the maintenance of the port-a-potties. And these were very portable potties. Emptying those was one of the highlights of the next morning (insert sarcasm here). Can I just say – I couldn't believe that: 1) someone actually took the liner out without replacing it with a new one and 2) people continued to use the potty after that and didn't seem to notice pee dripping all over the tent.

Enjoyed visiting with campers/runners as they arrived and had a nice reunion visit with Jim Kern, who I ran with for 15+ miles during last year's race. Jim and I helped hand out packets and tried to make ourselves useful. I then proceeded to lose my Jeep keys down the back of my dashboard – which resulted in several hours of frustration until Jim Kern and Craig Lloyd retrieved them.

Had a nice visit around the campfire that night. Some people had a longer visit since they got drunk and told loud stories until Davy finally kicked them off to bed late at night.

The next morning I was up at 4:15 and we started handing out race packets. There were four races starting at 6, 7, 8 and 9 a.m. We would give a little pre-race speech and then send the runners off on their respective races.

Jim and I broke down the starting line (with the help of some other volunteers and race crews) and headed out for a day on the trail. Jim was trying to find one group that rented a satellite phone and had forgotten to pick it up. I cheered racers on as I passed them and then worked at Simpson Springs calling off race numbers and directing runners for a couple of hours.

The rest of my day was spent driving back and forth checking on runners and trying to motivate them. I did some chauffeur duty for a woman that forgot to fill up on gas and needed to get her sons out on the course as pacers. I gave words of advice. I admired runners for their fortitude.

It was a great day and so much fun to volunteer for the race. Ultrarunners are a different breed – but such a nice group of people to hang around with.

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