Saturday was a great day. The weather was sunny and warm, and there without a chance of rain. Sue and I got to Boston Store (photo by Mark Shelton) early. After we had unloaded the car and grabbed a load of ice from 'The Iceman', Elizabeth and her army of family and friends arrived. We had chosen a Hawaiian theme for the aid station this year. Once the aid station set-up was well underway, I ran and re-mark the loop from taking runners to the north and east then back into the Boston. I put out additional streamers with reflective tape to make them more visible at night, since many of the runners would be coming through at dusk or later.
By the time I got back, the set-up was done and the place was ready for the first runner to come through. We were actually much too efficient, as were were ready about an hour before the first runner actually arrived. So we had time to talk and make sure we all knew the drill when runners arrived, and take a few photos. Here is the crew. (photo courtesy of Elizabeth).
There is a reason for the look on my face in this photo, and it has nothing to do the fact that my cup of ice cream had melted while I was working. Elizabeth was explaining to me that her camera has a 'smile' mode which will only allow her to snap a photo if it detects a smile on the subject. I was trying to prove that the 'smile detection' technology was not reliable, and I think I made my point. That's the renowned tri-athlete Papa Lou to my right, trying to maintain a more professional demeanor. I've known Lou for a few years, and I was glad to have the chance to work with him at the aid station.
I should exactly where our little aid station was located. Boston store is tucked up against the canal tow path, at the 56 mile mark in the Burning River 100 mile course. It is also on the 60.7 mile mark, since the runners enter from the west then make a 4.7 mile loop to the north and east east after leaving the store, coming through again before heading south through my favorite section of the course, Pine Lane. That meant that we would have runners coming at us from the east and from the west. It made us a very busy little aid station once the runners started coming through.
The first one through was Tim Clement, the eventual winner.
He looked good, as good as you can look after having run 56 miles, with 44 more to go. I picked him up about about 30 yards from the aid station, asking him what he needed and offering him various food and drink. Tim, and some of the other runners, had his own little crew waiting for him with his food and drink, so he really didn't need much assistance from the aid station crew.
As the afternoon wore on, the runners started coming in just a few minutes apart. We developed a routine, with another greeter running them in from the east, then I would send them off to the north , giving them directions for the loop that would bring them back in about 45 minutes. On their second pass through the aid station, I would run them in and get them taken care of, before steering them south on the tow path. With runners coming from both directions, I was busy most of the afternoon.
I love this photo. It shows three of the best runners I know, in one of the few scenes where none of them were actually running. Barb (in the grass skirt) was working the aid station all afternoon, then she got on her running gear and headlamp and paced another runner for about 15 miles. Kam (asleep in the camp chair) who won the Buckeye Trail 50k a few weeks ago, was going to be pacing Mark Godale, last years' Burning River 100 winner, for the last 40 miles. Unfortunately Mark had to drop due to an injury, so Kam got the day off. Wayne, who was running strong at the track on Tuesday, broke a bone in his foot right after that workout.
And of course, my blog would be incomplete without a reference to and image of Steve 'Hundred Mile' Hawthorne. This was his first 100 mile ultra and he finished in 25:41. CONGRATULATIONS STEVE!
For the complete results listing, go to the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run website.
11 hours ago