Last year the Puff and I volunteered at the Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run . We had such a fun experience we couldn't wait to go back again this year. The race was this past weekend August 1 and August 2nd right here in our backyard (sort of).
The AC 100 race starts at 5am in Wrightwood on Saturday and ends in Alta Dena at 2pm on Sunday. Runners have approximately 33 hours to finish the course and most take around 30 hours. After we set up our tent & cots, we got down to the business of the aid station.
|We brought my nephew Sam along this year|
The Forest Rangers close the main canyon gates daily at 8pm and re-open them at 6am. So, even though the first AC 100 runners wouldn't be coming through our aid station until midnight, we had to get to the campground early enough so that we could drive in before the gates close and so that we can set up our tent while there's still daylight out.
We followed the runners' progress via GPS tracking so we knew pretty much when to start looking out for the first runner. This year John & Rebecca also brought infrared cameras which were set up on the trail near our station. Via the laptop & TV monitors we could see the runners on the trail before they got to us. It was really very very cool.
Just as the down time was starting to wear on us, the MOST exciting moment of the night, the one that everyone fought off sleep for, finally arrived: seeing two small orbs of light off in the distance, aka the FIRST runner and their Pacer making their way to our aid station!!!
It was exactly midnight and this scene just made us go nuts. We started hooting and cheering for the runners as loud as we could. If there were any mountain lions or bears lurking nearby, they would have totally been scared away by all our nonsense!
Eric Schulte and his pacer thundered in, grabbed some snacks, downed some coke (I think it was coke, I could be wrong) and was off again in a total of less than 2 minutes. All those hours of anticipation and the moment was over just like that.
I don't remember her name, but I took a picture with this runner because she was one of the middle-of-the-night arrivals (badass) who actually did stop to chat with us for a bit. She was training for Mont Blanc!
I did catch some sleep in between those groupings. I managed to get maybe an hour of sleep at a time at 3 separate times. My nephew and the Puff slept through most of the night but the Puff was up again before the Sunrise runners started to trickle in. She was moving & hustling better than some of the adults in our group, I was super proud of her!!
After the canyon gates re-opened at 6am, we had a few more volunteers join us to help which was awesome because this was definitely the BUSIEST time of the entire race.
Volunteering at an Ultra aid station is no joke. Especially at this particular aid station. It's a very tiring job and if you're at the last station like we were, it''s many many many hours of work. The first aid station of the race is done in a couple of hours max. But for us, the last runner finally made his way to us at around 1:14pm (unfortunately he was disqualified due to time. Can you imagine running 95 miles of a 100 mile race and being DQ'd?) We'd been assisting runners since midnight and were set up way before then the day before.
After the last runner, the trail sweepers weren't too far behind (they also need aid station help!). We finally packed up and went home, promising everyone we would see them all again next year.
We made it home just in time for Sunday Linner dessert: SCOOP CAKE. YUMMMMMM.
I'm not sure I want to ever train for a century race. Maybe a 50 miler? Maybe. I need to get better at the marathon before tackling the next distance.