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"There is no science that can measure the human ability to endure and persevere."
~ unknown
The LT100 foot race covers even rougher territory through the mountains west and south of Leadville than the bike race did last weekend.

All the runners will endure heat, cold, sun, rain, maybe sleet or snow or wind, darkness, high altitudes, steep, rocky trails, creeks, and a variety of other challenges and unknowns during the race. Only about 50% of them traditionally persevere to the very end and triumphantly claim their belt buckle for completing 100 miles in less than 30 hours.

Jim and me at the finish line of the 1999 LT100 race -- he finished, I didn't.

Science cannot predict for certain which runners will finish. There are too many variables. Under conditions like these, probably as much depends on a runner's mental determination to overcome the obstacles as his/her physical ability.

Out of several valiant attempts to finish this race, Jim can proudly claim a successful finish in 1999. It's still amazing to us that he did it during his very first attempt at the 100-mile distance.

I never got past the 50-mile mark in this race, although I've finished other mountain trail 100-milers.


Since we enjoyed working the bike race check-in last week we let Bill Moyer know we'd be available again to work runner check-in yesterday and today.

We probably would have helped Monday with packet stuffing for the run if we'd realized when it was. By the time I talked to Bill they'd already stuffed the bags for the 800 registered runners. In some prior years Ken and Merilee left registration open until closer to race day but this year it closed when the limit was reached (several months ago, I believe).

"I'm doggone cute but they won't let me go through the check-in line."  (Jim and I
couldn't resist that face; during a lull in the action yesterday we went over to pet her.)

This entry covers runner check-in. I'll write a separate entry for our communications job at the Twin Lakes aid station tomorrow.


We picked up our green volunteer shirts for the run one day this week so we could wear them while working check-in. They are the same cotton t-shirts as the ones we received for the bike race, only a different color. These will be good for visibility while cycling.

When we got to the check-in area in the courtyard outside the new LT Race Series store on Harrison Avenue we could see that the entrants' "traffic" flow would be about the same as for the bike race -- medical tables first (next photo), goodie bags and shirts second, with an optional stop for a medical research study, then inside to pick up numbers and timing chips.

Volunteers set up the medical tables before the line starts moving on Thursday.

We arrived half an hour early (10:30) and had our pick of jobs. It was warmer and less windy than a week ago so we chose to work outside again. Check-in was open from 11 AM to 7 PM that day.

There were fewer volunteers helping out today than at the bike race check-in. That's normal for this race because almost all of the cyclists leave after their event. We could have used a couple more volunteers in our area today.

Jim was able to sit while he gave out goodie bags and inserts/additional items. Runners get the same inexpensive bags with handles that the cyclists got (not nearly as nice as the previous canvas zippered duffel bags).

I was next to him giving out the entrants' shirts with another woman (above).

The runners got long-sleeved technical black shirts with a similar subtle design as the cyclists’ shirts but these are made in Laos, not the USA, and don’t fit tall, lean ultra runners very well. The chest is OK but the torso and sleeves are too short proportionally for men with a typical runners' lanky build. The unisex shirts actually fit the women better because of their generally shorter arms and torsos.

I encouraged all the runners to put on shirts until they found the size that fit them the best. In both the run and the bike race participants could choose their size and not have to get what they put down on their entry forms.

Trying on shirts took longer in line but we weren't slammed with runners yesterday and they left happier than they would have been if their shirts didn't fit. I know that when I ran races I was determined to get a shirt that fit, considering how expensive races are (especially this one).

Not all that many runners checked in during our four-hour shift on Thursday  – maybe 200? There are ~ 800 registered.

Runners picking up their numbers inside the store on Friday

The line moved fairly slowly through the medical tables, where runners got their weight and blood pressure recorded, received their wristbands, and answered various medical questions. They were never backed up more than two or three deep at our table even with most runners trying on their shirts.

The only problem we saw with the flow of runners was at the sharp turn they made to get to our table. A group was conducting an optional medical research study next to us, which sometimes blocked access to our bag/shirt table.

Medical research study

It would have been helpful to have a volunteer standing there to separate out the folks who wanted to participate in the study from those who wanted to just continue through the line.

Otherwise, it looked like everything flowed well.

While we worked on Thursday about two-thirds of the runners decided to participate in the medical study. The purpose of the study is to improve understanding of the body's response to extreme exertion and low oxygen conditions:

That day we saw Liz Bauer and Scott Brockmeier, Larry Hall, Rick Sandison, Bill Dickey, Russ Gill and Francesca Conte, Paul Schoenlab, Tammy Massie, and other folks we know.

Several Grand Slammers came through the line and we gave them extra encouragement to finish this race.

Scott Brockmeier (foreground) and Liz Bauer (blue shirt)
participated in the medical research study.

Since we worked through lunch we got to eat sandwiches and munchies provided to the volunteers in the warehouse at the back of the LT race series store. We left at 3 PM when new volunteers came in to work the second shift.


Check-in was scheduled earlier today and only from 7-10 AM. We got there at 6:30 so we could get a different job and we didn't leave until 10:30.

Since it was chillier today, and overcast with a  50% chance of rain, we requested jobs inside the store giving out numbers to the runners. Not only was it warmer in there, it was less hectic than doing the bags and shirts outside.

Fewer than half of the 800 entrants checked in yesterday during an eight-hour period, leaving up to 450 more runners to check in from 7-10 AM today.

Medical volunteers prepare for the runners before check-in this morning.

There were a lot of numbers left in the boxes but most were distributed by the time we left this morning. Each box held 100 numbers. Most of the time Jim and I worked with three boxes at the table nearest the door; another woman helped us for a little while.

This was a fairly easy sit-down job. I prefer being up and down so I picked the box closest to the door where the runners came in after getting their goodie bags and shirts. I figured that way I could see most of the runners as they came in and say hi to people we know.

There weren't enough volunteers available to have one dedicated to directing runners to the correct tables and boxes, so I did that job part of the time, too -- since I was right there. I kept busy.

Jim assists a runner with his number and emergency contact information.

When a runner told us his/her number we located the envelope containing that number, advised them to open it while they were still in the store to be sure it was the right number, and told them not to fold or mangle the timing chip, which is embedded in the bib this year.

We also directed the runners to list a local contact name/number/address in case of emergency. As usual, most everyone consulted his/her cell phone for that information! (What would we do without our cell phones?)

The number process went pretty quickly but sometimes our lines backed up because of the time it took some folks to fill out the emergency contact form.

We enjoyed this job a lot more than if we'd been outside today. Sometimes we were too busy to talk to friends but we did get to see Matt and Anne Watts, Joe Judd, Bobby Keogh, and some other folks we know.

Jim chats with Anne Watts (R) when he's not busy with numbers.

We did not attend the briefing at the gym today. The runners and their crews should have all been able to fit into the gym again this year; there was an additional outside seating area with viewing screen for the bike race briefing since there were more than double the number of entrants in that event.

Hopefully Ken Chlouber got all 800 runners whipped into an emotional frenzy during his annual "pep talk" at the briefing, reminding them about the perseverance they'll need to finish the race! Lifetime Fitness may own the race series now, but no one can motivate the crowd like Ken can with his "you can do more than you think you can" speech.


This afternoon we got everything ready for a long day (and night) out at Twin Lakes for our communications job. We may be relieved part way through but we'll probably be out there until well after the aid station closes. There don't appear to be any extra radio volunteers this year. We're prepared for a long haul, if necessary.

Considering the expression on Jim's and Anne's faces, I'm wondering what they were talking about!
Maybe Jim just told her he's considering riding the LT100 bike race next year . . . (he vacillates on that).

Cody gets to go with us this time since we'll be "housed" in our truck. We'll be parked close to the aid station but he'll have shady grass to lie in and a woods out back when he needs to take a potty break.

The temperature was cooler than normal this afternoon -- mid-60s instead of mid-70s -- and remained cloudy. About 7 PM it began raining. Jim and I are glad we won't be running down the muddy Boulevard before sunrise tomorrow morning!

Been there, done that. One advantage of not being able to run . . . is not feeling compelled to run this race any more!

Next entry:  volunteering at Twin Lakes during the race

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil