I volunteered for the Burning River 100 this weekend and, can I say, "what an experience." I had a wonderful time. This race is a "fast" 100 with a 30 hour cutoff. I worked the aid stations at mile 28.4 and 64.1 starting at 8 am and finishing around 10 pm. At 28.4 (Alexander Road Aid Station) I logged the racer numbers and times. This got a little nerve-racking as the runners started coming fast and furious. At 64.1 (Happy Days Aid Station) I filled water bottles, suggested food and encouraged the runners. The big hit was grilled cheese sandwiches. The runners faces lit up when we told them we had grilled cheese. It was interesting to see the difference between the runners attitudes at mile 28 and 64. At 28, only a handful stayed beyond 3 minuets, while at 64, only a handful left within 3 minuets. I'm not sure the runners would have named the station at mile 64 "Happy Days." The runners were very thankful for the aid we gave and most went out of there way to say so. As an aid station worker, I felt they were the hero's and tried my best to get them what they needed.
I didn't get too many comments about being barefoot, but when I did, I explained my story. The other volunteers were interested since they are runners too - and the barefoot word is out. I had only one comment from a runner who asked where are my shoes. I pulled out a stock answer, " I'm wearing the shoes my Mom made for me."
I enjoyed working with all the volunteers - it's a wonderful feeling when people pull together and do what is needed with the only motivation being the runners health (mental and physical) and to see them get to the finish. This was easy at mile 28, as most runners could go on. At 64, things got a little more dicey.
Side note: can a volunteer get fired? Apparently so, as the pit boss at 64 and I had issues. I appenently was putting too many potatoes in the cup for runners and couldn't stand in the proper place with out her direction (or hand/arm pushing me out of the way). I left 2 hours before the close of the station due to her inadequacies at recognizing true and honest help. Incredible, but c'est la vie.
Several of my club mates were running the race, but I was cheering for Barefoot Jason. He started the race barefoot and I'll let him tell his story when he gets home. But I'll give something away - he set a PR - YEAH JASON.
After a few hours of sleep, I went to the finish line - only a half mile away - and watched as many of the runners came in. Seeing the same runners at 28, 64 and 101 was a study in humanity. There were tears and cheers. To me the most thrilling part was when the 15 year old son of a club mate, who was volunteering at the Happy Days aid station, also volunteered to pace a runner to the finish. The runner only made it to mile 93, so Eric decided to pace another runner to the end. He crossed the finish line at about 9:45 am this morning. This wasn't in his plan when the day started, but I am sure his father is proud.
A few Pics:
Barefoot Jason and crew at the finish line - NOTE THE BUCKLE!!