No race for me this weekend. Got another 20 miler tomorrow before Aspen Valley. Next weekend is The Slacker Half Marathon - my first half marathon ... two years ago. I am super psyched for it!
This morning I played race support again and had an absolute blast. My friends Melissa, Morriah, and Jill (Run With Jill) were running The Mt. Evans Ascent. This was a 14.5 mile run UP the highest paved road in North America.
Imagine, if you will, a 4000 ft climb summiting at 14,265 feet. Sound fun? Nah, me neither. That’s why I decided to take care of a water station instead.
I drove Melissa and Morriah along with my friends Carrie and Eric who were woking the station with me. We got the final water station at mile 11.5, elevation somewhere around 13,000 ft.
|Water Station #4|
|Melissa and Morriah|
Sad to say the wildlife was slightly suicidal along the way. A deer almost jumped into the road in front of me and three squirrels dive bombed my car ... one didn’t survive. My eyes welled up for fifteen minutes after that.
As we set up our station an older man and his son stopped next to us. They were HAM radio operators - this was the only means of communication between the runners and Search and Rescue. They were super cool and helped pass water between check ins with the other stations.
|Awesome HAM guys - their antennae was made from tape measures|
The race started at 7:30 am. By 9:00 the first runner passed us - talk about amazing! Geofrey Terer finished in 1:47:03 at a ridiculous 7:23 pace. The first woman Stevie Kremer (5th overall) 1:57:49 - she was smiling as she passed, made it look effortless!
Geofrey had the car stop by us on the way down. He was ecstatic, ready for a snack, cheering, and shaking hands with us. What a fantastic guy!
There were about 500 runners so the passers were fairly well spaced. All the people were a lot of fun and grateful we were there. We passed water, Heed, Coke, Hammer Gel, pretzels, animal crackers, jelly beans, and bananas. The Coke was extremely well received.
Melissa, Morriah, and Jill all passed by within 10 minutes of each other. They all looked great but very happy to be 3 miles from the finish. All finished and did very well.
|Me and Jill|
Overall, the weather was spectacular. Last year there was a horrific wind - today 40’s with a mild breeze. But this can change in a blink. By the time the last of the runners came by a nasty storm was brewing.
|View from our table|
About this time Search and Rescue came to our station. They said to look out, a helicopter was about to land near us. It turned out there was a climbing accident on a glacier on Mt. Bierstadt and they needed this spot for their EMS hub.
It landed about 10 feet from where we were standing. The road got shut down. Dark clouds were swelling and we could hear thunder in the distance. By then the race was over and we were promptly told to get off the mountain.
|Me and the copter|
No problem!! I was originally planning to drive up and bring the ladies back down but this was no longer an option. There was a shuttle system (which did not work so well with the temporary closures, fortunately they all got rides back from other people at the top). We packed in record time and hit the road.
The storm hit in a like a wall. The rain and wind was pretty hard. We found a runner, who we were chatting with earlier, that had planned to run back down. He was more than happy to take a ride back to the base. I can’t bear to mention all the road bikers out in that storm, I had no room for them - this worried me to no end.
But mountain storms move fast. By the time we got back to Echo Lake the sun was coming back out. We unloaded and regrouped. All was well and everyone was more than ready to head back to town.
So here I am back on my comfy, comfy couch. I feel exhausted, you would have thought I ran the race. Something I would have never considered ... but I did earn a free race entry for volunteering.
Next year ... definitely next year!