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.
OUR ROLE THIS YEAR AS VOLUNTEERS, NOT RUNNERS
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
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
"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.
CHECK-IN, DAY 1 (THURSDAY)
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
I was next to him
giving out the entrants' shirts with another woman (above).
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
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
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
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
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
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, DAY 2 (FRIDAY)
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
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
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
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.
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.
PREPPING FOR OUR NEXT JOB
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
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil