Ok, so I didn't race yesterday. But I did something that I've been meaning to do for a very long time, and that was to serve as a volunteer in a race. And what better race to do it in than in one of Wendell and Sarah's PCTR events?
Sara, myself and a couple of my favorite Runner's World online peeps (Ryan + Lori) got together early Sunday morning and carpooled the approximately 40-50 mile ride up the coast to our destination. We got there with a few minutes to spare (check-in time was 7:15am) so we just waited in my truck to avoid the chilly coastal temps outside. After about 15-20 minutes of witnessing zero activity around us, a park ranger pulled up next to us to inform us that the start was taking place at the previous campground that we had passed a few miles down the coast.
Sure enough, there were Wendell and Sarah and the rest of the participants. After exchanging hugs and greetings, we were immediately assigned to check in the runners that were already trickling in. This part was fun and I got to meet some very interesting people from different walks of life - including a few new faces from the RW forums like James, Deidre, etc. Also ran into Stuart again who would be running the 50K and in my haste and head-spinning, briefly exchanged "hello's" with Penny.
Anyway, the 18/30/50K runners started off first promptly at 8:30am followed by 8K'ers at 8:45am. After seeing them off, my next assignment was to mark down the incoming 8K runners by bib and time. It was interesting to get a behind the scenes look at how they synched up and recorded the times so we could get the results printed and posted up as soon as possible.
Once we captured all of the 8K runners and a majority 18K folks, I switched assignments and joined my friends at the aid station for the 50K runners who would be coming through to refill on water, sports drinks and a smorgasbord of salty/sweet snacks, before heading back out for the final 18K. It was reminscent of pit crews in NASCAR races as one person would fill up a runner's water bottle, another would answer questions, another egged them to eat something...so on and so forth.
We became a well-oiled machine after awhile and really started to enjoy ourselves while trying mostly in vain not to snack on the food ourselves. We stuck around to see Stuart and Rachel PR and a few other friends finish before having to leave to feed our stomachs and get some much-needed rest. Especially for Lori and Ryan who had just completed a 50-mile (!) race the previous day.
All in all, it was a great day in Sycamore Canyon. To those that have yet to give back and volunteer at a race - I would highly recommend it. Especially in a tight-knit community amongst trail and ultra runners.