Yesterday I started my day as a Vollie at a 6 hr. at Bound for the Hounds ultra, no longer able be be in the driver seat. It was a true pleasure to do runner registration, help set up, share stories and meet a new generation of running Ultra marathon.
Some of the participants were serious runners and others were new to the sport testing their ability to see how far they could run in 6 hrs. This is very similar to the 24 hr ultras I ran at U of R track. I was in with both feet running ultras nd winning most, 100 mi. ++.
Ultra marathons/runners are a different breed. I fit right in with their insanity of long running. These days ultra-running has many different forms, distances, ranging from over marathon distances ranging from 31 mi 50K to 100 miles and 24/48/72 hr events some on roads/tracks others on trails and mountains. In my book Brooks Running, I story about couple of my most memorable trail ultras 50 and 100 mile trail races. One of them with horses... Old Dominion 100 Va. In my 30's many of my track ultras resulted in USATF age records for 50K, 100K and 100 miles, all certified.
What was so special about yesterday is that it is so inclusive. It includes, serious and novice, large and small. old and young. Some competing against others and some just testing their own endurance, How far can I go in 6 hr? Did I ever wish I was running walking with them? Yes of course. But just being there I was kind of reliving it.
After so many years away from the sport for me, just walking 2 mi. was an ulra. Did I have fun? Absolutely, seeing how the sport as grown in the 30 + since being participant, as well as how the technology has inserted itself into this sport, with the newer shoes, nutrition, new hydration, timing and scoring, clothing etc. was eye opening. Babbling Brooks was in his glory.
Saw several people I knew and ran with years ago, had we gotten older???? Haha.
It was good that I brought my books as I gave away/sold several. That wasn't my intention.
The support for the runners and volunteers was superb, warm soup, coffee, food like donuts and pretzels, electrolytes and water, although most serious runners brought their own supplies. Gil Robs (Hour Glass timing) had a fancy set-up. Tent, generator supplying power for timing mats, clock, computer, and digital screen for real time progress of each runner crossing the mat during the event, showing where you were and where your competition was. Winning distances were 30-40+ miles for 6 hr.
The course was a 2 mile out and back flat paved trail along a creek next to a dog park in small town Shortsville NY, giving the runners ample access to support crews at turn around. Runners/walkers could stop refresh, rehydrate, change or remove gear at turnaround start/finish spot, so spectators and support/cheering crews could have easy access to their runners.
Our area is starting to get a name for ultra-running. Many are starting to know a new dimension of running. If I can be of use as a mentor or coach, look me up.
Next event: event registration for Turkey day 10K, Race for Grace. I'll need couple days to recover.