|Idlehour A/S, Mile 84 of the AC100. Photo credit to Scott Applebaum|
I had been training to race again this year but on May 31, during a training run, I took a freak fall and fractured my pelvis (http://fredippides.blogspot.com/2014/06/training-run-gone-bad-self-rescue-with.html). I was fortunate in that I was able to hike out and get to the ER; the next day I underwent surgery ("ORIF") to have by acetabulum (hip socket) screwed back together. Three weeks ago I was given clearance to bear weight, so volunteering at the race was ON. I used my crutches anyways since I'd been counseled to not over-do the weight bearing: As I could walk about 15 minutes on the leg before it started hurting, I was very careful not to overdo it.
My primary responsibility at the race was to arrange the logistics and set up of two new medical stations at the Cloudburst Summit (Mile 37) and Idlehour (mile 84) aid stations. In addition I was detailed to Idlehour for the evening- this being near the scene of my accident- how ironic is that?
On 9am on race morning I rendezvoused with Nick Nudell, the Medical Director, at Vincent gap to see how the med stations go together and to pick up the gear to set up Cloudburst Summit's medical tent. Heading out to meet the medical team at Cloudburst, the Venture Scouts had the tent set up for us in no time. My medical team-mates included Mike, an ICU nurse, and Melissa, a ultra running fire-fighter/EMT, and my good friend Brad Harris, MD. Brad and I shared some of the best miles of my running career at last year's AC100, when we tore out of Three-Points together to Hillyer at a blistering pace, making the leg to Hillyer in 1:06, tying for second fastest split of the day, en route to silver buckle finishes for the both of us.
|With my pal Brad Harris at Cloudburst Summit|
The weather was so unusual on race day. Cloudburst was positively chilly and we donned windbreakers and jackets, such a contrast to the furnace that Cooper Canyon and Cloudburst usually shape up to be on race day. It felt more like being in the Rockies prior to an afternoon shower.
After Cloudburst Summit A/S closed we broke down the station and packed it up in Mike's truck to ferry it around the front range to drive up the Toll Road to Idlehour Aid Station. Joining up with a fresh crew of first aiders (Ty and Dorothy) Mike and I arrived around 8pm and got the medical tent set up in the waning daylight and settled in for the evening shift. The Idlehour station was amazing: What a great, fun, and well-prepared crew:
|Idlehour A/S crew. Photo credit to Scott Applebaum|
The vast majority of the runners showed great respect for the race volunteers. All in all, a wonderful time and a great way to take the sting out of my DNS this year.
|Finish line crew. I'm the guy on crutches.|
I find myself reflecting on the fact that the majority of the aid station volunteers I met at the race were not ultra runners let alone AC100 vets. The acrimony that occurred on the AC100 Facebook page this week really stood out, conveying a bit of a sense of entitlement by us runners. (For the record, I too would like to see some changes like a waiting list, so that I could have handed off my spot when I pulled from the race in early June). By contrast I saw all weekend a quietly selfless attitude of service among the many volunteers that I met out there giving their entire weekends to support us ultra runners in what really must be acknowledged to be an immensely selfish quest to run the race. Most of these volunteers have never run AC100 nor can ever hope to do so. How Ken and Hal have assembled such a group of good hearted, selfless and committed volunteers, just amazes me. These people seem to me, after this wonderful weekend, to be the true heart and soul of the race.
For this insight I have my accident to thank and I am grateful for the new perspective. In the future if I am shut out of the sign up process I hope I will find the grace to show up again as a volunteer to continue to be part of this wonderful institution. It was (almost) as fun as racing.