Saturday, July 12, 2014

Volunteering at Duncan Canyon Aid Station. Western States 2014

For the third year in a row I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the Duncan Canyon Aid station at mile 24 of the Western States 100.  Our running club, Quicksilver, has the privilege of running this aid station and it is a blast to drive and hike out to our little slice of heaven above French Meadows reservoir on Friday before the race, camp out, and generally just have a great time in the mountains with our like-minded friends.

In the morning we set up our tables replete with water and electrolyte drink, snacks and sandwiches of a dizzying assortment and provide a jolly atmosphere complete with music and costume to amp up the runners as they pass through on their way to a very long day out on the trail.

Campsite just above French Meadows Reservoir.
 My buddy Sachin just got a car and was excited to show off his creative driving skills.  He had the dubious honor of being crew for a pacer.  You see, my usual order of business for this weekend is to help out at the aid station, and then "pace" a runner from somewhere after 62 miles(the first point that pacers are allowed to run with racers), to the finish.  The thing is it can get tricky with car situation and rides for a point-to-point race, and Sachin was kind enough to play chauffeur for me this day.  He also had a sweet costume.  This year the theme of our aid station had something to do with cowboys(or hicks in my case), I don't know - I am just glad my self tailored outfit that I got from the Goodwill store for a cumulative $3 from last year, sort of worked for this year too.  Also, I should give credit for ALL of the pictures to Tanya Perme who did a fantastic job of providing professional photography service for the aid station.

Sachin(left), the Indian Indian.  Jean(center), the Western States buckle really pulls the outfit together. Harris(right) showing off some killer farmer tan with the AWESOME WS volunteer shirt.
 I was a "runner handler".  We do it up right at WS.  Basically, as the runners come in, they are assigned a "handler" to take their bottles or hydration vest, get them filled with whatever the runner commands, point the runner to the food, and basically cater to every whim and need for that runner.  Whether guiding them to the med tent for blister fixing or worse, or making sure they have their salt and gu for the road, and showing them the "sponge off" station to get a nice cool down before continuing into the heat of the day.  I got to "handle" a couple of icons of our sport and decided I really needed to show off the pictures:

"Here, fill this with water you strange looking man"  Karl Meltzer, winner of 36 hundred mile races.  Legend.

This is John.  This is his dream race and he was having a blast.  John works with me and was one of the first people I knew who was into "ultras".

Gordy Ainsleigh, 67 years old.  Back in 1974 he decided to leave his horse behind and complete a hundred miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn under his own power, pioneering the concept of a 100 mile footrace through the mountains and becoming the icon of the most sought after ultra marathon in the US.  He is still going.  And I got to fill his water bottles.  This guy just LOOKS larger than life in person.

Here Gordy, go this way.  LOL - how many times has he done this?

I just really like this picture.  I don't know who she is, but there is a pure joy that she is getting out of this race.


  1. I like the happy woman picture too!!
    It'd be kinda funny if you wore this outfit every year, no matter the theme, and became "that guy"; but at the same time, I want to see what other awesome self-tailored outfits you can come up with!
    Way cool that you help out with this--volunteers are a huge part of these races.

  2. Thanks again for everything! I'll be back. And I hope you'll run this race someday too! I think you'd do great at this race! And when you do get in, maybe I can crew for you. I owe you one!