I wish I'd taken a picture of the three storage rooms full of
bags, but I didn't. What a sight: 860+ bulging brown
bags, all waiting to be claimed by their runners!
BAG PICK-UP: THURSDAY
Runners in the 100-mile race were scheduled to pick up their
bags/numbers/shirts and have their medical checks done at the
Foot of the Bighorns store on Thursday afternoon; their
race began Friday morning. Packet pick-up (but no medical
check) was scheduled in the same location for runners in the
52-mile, 50K, and 30K races on Friday; their races begin
on Saturday morning.
Melanie (L) and Michelle (R) check runners
in on Thursday.
plenty of room to check in in the front room of the retail store
(at least on Thursday, when we were helping). All the normal merchandise
appeared to have been moved out so previous years' leftover race apparel
-- at very attractive prices -- and other items runners might need for this year's races
could be moved in temporarily for optional purchase.
Matt Watts (R) gets his pulse and blood
pressure readings taken by a medical volunteer.
Jim's and my job Thursday afternoon was to retrieve bags
for a couple hundred 100-mile runners as they came in to get
their numbers and have their medical checks done. We chose this
job for several reasons, one of which was to see our friends in
the 100-mile race! As usual, we know a higher percentage of them
than the runners in the shorter races.
Jim talks with Bob Johnson (R) as Franklin
Coles does his medical check.
Although runners in the other three races (52-mile, 50K, and
30K) were supposed to get
their bags on Friday, they could get them on Thursday if they asked. Jim and I may have
been instrumental in starting this a few years ago.
Note that the 100-miler begins at 11 AM on Friday. The other
three races begin at 6-8-10 AM on Saturday. Everyone has until 9
PM on Saturday to finish (that's very generous for the 50K and
When Jim was in the
100-miler in 2007 and I ran the 50K, I wanted to be able to crew
for him at Dry Fork on Friday -- around the time I was
supposed to be picking up my packet in Sheridan, at least 50
miles and a lot more minutes away. So I asked if I could get my
number and bag on Thursday when Jim did. It appeared that I was one of the
first to request that privilege, but since race management had
known us for a long time, they allowed it.
Of course, we told friends like the Watts and Asletts
about this, and they asked, too. Now it's no big deal for
partners and friends of the 100-milers who are running in the
shorter races to get their bags on Thursday. It makes things a
lot easier for them. As runners, Jim and I appreciate whatever
adjustments the race staff had to make to accommodate this
Previous 100-mile winner Jeff Browning
It can also be argued that it makes packet pick-up a little
easier on staff and volunteers on Friday, when over 600 runners
are now picking up their bags. We didn't help with
bag pick-up then, but we can guess how busy it was. Assisting
"only" 200 runners was a piece of cake in comparison.
Yes, Jim got his 50K race bag while we were working Thursday.
That enabled us to go out and watch/crew for friends in the
100-miler at Dry Fork this morning.
Melanie, Michelle, and Cheryl handled the computer duties as the
100-milers checked in. Jim, Gene Bruckert (standing in photo
below), another volunteer, and I retrieved their bags, as well
as some bags for runners in the shorter races. Three medical
volunteers handled the 100-milers' medical stats, which were
also recorded in the computers.
During lag times between incoming runners we were able to talk with many of our friends
and wish them well in the race. We also got to re-meet a friend,
John Cassidy, who introduced himself as a "lurker" on this
website. We first met him in Leadville, I think, and he wrote to
us about climbing Pike's Peak while we were in Colorado Springs
a few weeks ago. This is his first time running the Bighorn 100.
We always enjoy meeting friends through the website!
After getting their bags and medical checks, the runners were free to mingle, shop, and head for
the pre-race dinner at Ole's.
That was one of the perks we enjoyed as volunteers --
free dinner tickets for the Italian buffet. Although the
restaurant was packed when we got there, we were able to enjoy
some stimulating dinner conversation with several friends.
The more they talked about the race, the more ambivalent
feelings Jim had about running the 50K this time instead of
attempting the 100-miler one more time. Although he can
see definite advantages in doing the shorter race, the lure of
100s is still strong. It took me several years to get over the temptation
(which I did before my knees
gave out). I'm an eternal optimist but finally faced reality. Jim's still capable of doing 100-milers, however, if he
adequately for them. I'm glad he isn't in the Bighorn 100 this
year but I'll always support him in the future if wants to do a
We got into some heavy rain and lightning near the campground as we headed home
Heavy downpour between Ranchester and the
Aren't those clouds cool, though??
We crossed our fingers for better weather for the race on Friday and
100-MILE RACE BRIEFING: 9 AM FRIDAY
Attending the course briefing for the 100-miler this morning
gave us another opportunity to mingle with friends. How could we
pass it up when it was only a couple hundred yards from our
This is why the Foothills Campground in Dayton, WY is packed on
race weekend -- its proximity to the 100-mile briefing,
bus transportation to the start of the 50K and 52-miler, and the
finish line of all four races. The campground is adjacent to
Scott Centennial Park.
A great motivating place for the race
briefing: next to the finish line!
The 100-mile race briefing was the same as usual as Michelle
welcomed the runners and crews, talked about some of the rules,
thanked the sponsors and volunteers, and gave out some random
running merchandise prizes.
Wendell Robison (below, left) went into some detail about the
course, the markings, and a two-mile re-route near the high point due to snow conditions; this
is near the
turn-around at the Porcupine Ranger Station. Race management
made the re-route decision last Sunday when the snow on the regular
course was up to Wendell's chest. Mid-week, another six inches
of snow fell in that area.
That also affects the 52-mile race, which starts at Porcupine
and goes point-to-point to Dayton. Fortunately, no other
re-routes are necessary for the event, although there is still
plenty of snow and mud for the runners to enjoy!
This is the Bighorn Mountain WILD & Scenic Run, after
DRY FORK AID STATION: FRIDAY AFTERNOON
After the briefing, 100-mile runners had about an hour to make final
preparations and catch a ride four miles to the start line on the Tongue River Canyon Road.
The race began at 11 AM.
We've been there, done that so many times we passed on it this
year and headed up a little later on US 14 and various Forest
Service roads to the first crewing station at the Head of the Dry Fork. At 13.4
miles into the race, this is the 100-milers' first major aid
station and the first of four locations (five in other years
when the course isn't re-routed) where crews can meet their
The first runners were expected by 1 PM; the aid station cut-off is
at 4 PM.
In about three hours, we could watch everyone come
We arrived around noon, before most of the crews, looked over
the aid station, and staked out a nice viewing spot (marked with
a red X in the photo below). To kill time and get some exercise, Cody and I hiked
about a mile up the 50K road (marked "50K" below) above the aid station and back down. I was happy to report to Jim that
the trail was much drier than it was on Monday. Of
course, that part wasn't where most of the snow had been . .
. it was up higher than I went today.
Follow the arrows in the photo above: the 100-milers will be coming down
Freeze Out Road from the right, check in and out of the aid
station tents (and meet their crews, get more fluids and
calories, get their drop bags, etc.), then run down the road you
can't see to the left into the valley (Dry Fork drainage) toward the next aid
station, Cow Camp.
Jim chilled while I was gone, since he's running 32+ miles tomorrow.
Before long he was joined by Anne Watts, who crewed not only
her husband Matt but also several other runners as they came though the
aid station; Carol Neslund, crewing for hubby Richard;
Diane Gorski, crewing for Rob Thurston; and a young lady who was crewing for
her husband. There was a nice little spectator group by the time
Cody and I returned.
Diane is on the left, below; she and Jim are both in the
What a beautiful afternoon it was! Look at that clear blue sky.
We did get a little chilly in the 50-degree temps and wind
because we were mostly just sitting there, but it looked like
good conditions for the runners.
The first runners, Mike Wolfe (on the left, below) and Joseph
Grant, hit the aid station a few minutes after 1 PM, soon
followed by other front-runners. Mike ended up winning the race
in 18:43 hours and Joseph was second in 19:48.
Jeff Browning's family (shown below) sat near us, ready to
spring into action when he arrived a few minutes later. Jeff has
won the race previously. He came in third this year in 20:34.
We were happy to see Jody Aslett come through in a fast time,
Jody's on the right, heading for the porta-potties (a popular
place for the runners to visit at this aid station!). Anne is to
the left, running to the aid station to get Jody's drop bag and
assist her there. Jody finished fourth overall female in a
100-mile PR for her (27:30). Good job, Jody! Wait till
you see how great she looked at the finish!
Pretty soon Jody's husband Dennis came through. Here Anne is
asking him how she can help him at the aid station.
Unfortunately, Dennis didn't finish the race this time (he has
several times previously).
When Matt Watts came through, he looked strong. He and Anne are
striding quickly toward the aid station in the next photo
as they discuss the things Matt needs to do while he's there:
Experienced runners like these know not to waste time in aid
stations. It can mean the difference between finishing the race
and getting timed out. Matt finished in a fine time of 30:43.
One of our Sheridan friends, Dave Westlake, went on to win the
men's 60-69 age group this year. He puts in a lot of volunteer
hours with the event and has finished the 100-mile race
This is John Hobbs, one of our ATY (Across the Years) friends:
Ray Gruenewald finished in 32:39:
I missed photos of our other friends but will try to get some of them
at the awards ceremony on Sunday. Check that upcoming entry
dated June 20 for more pictures and results.
Next entries: Jim's 50K race, finish line activities, and my hike on the Riley Loop
(all on Saturday) -- what a difference five days make in
the snow level!
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2010 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil