I volunteered to work the Lawrence Trail Hawk aid station at the Prairie Spirit 100 and 50 Mile Ultra on Saturday. This event is put on by the awesome Epic Ultras group. I have run a couple events with them before but this was my first time volunteering at one of their events.
Our aid station at Garnett, KS was at miles 44 and 77 of the course. I am very familiar with the Prairie Spirit trail, as I reviewed here before. I have ridden down to Garnett and back on my bike (in a downpour!!!) as well. I think all the runners agreed that the Trail Hawks knew how to do up an aid station. We heard from runners that the other runners were telling them, they have the best REAL FOOD! Bacon, quesadillas, homemade pickles and energy balls… Sherrie really had a great spread for the runners.
I think the thing I like most about volunteering or crewing is feeling like I am a part of someone accomplishing their dream. In ultras especially, sometimes it takes a little extra to keep a runner going. When they need to dig deep and find a way to push through, the small kindnesses a volunteer can provide is invaluable. It meant the world to me for someone to tell me that I was doing great. They saved my life by offering me food when I had forgotten that I needed to eat. They helped fill my water bottles. They gave me a little boost by telling me how “close” the next aid station was. They made me feel like a rock star by cheering for me as I entered and exited.
The other part that makes it fun is getting to be with my friends who are volunteering. Whether it was handing out medals at a half Ironman, sweeping the course at a trail run, or filling cups of water, we always managed to keep it fun. There is a lot of great conversation when you are picking up course flags for 4 hours!
I know that I will be back running ultras soon. And I always remember to thank the volunteers for giving up their day to help me accomplish my dreams. 🙂
After volunteering, Bowie and I met Steven and the other boys at Clinton Lake for a little hike. We headed up to Sanders Mound to check out the view. Tatum took off so fast, I was afraid he was going to fall down. He was like a little mountain goat jumping over rocks and roots. It probably helps that we have nice trail shoes for the boys on these outtings. Bowie was charging up the mound and we lost sight of him. When we rounded the corner, Bowie was down. He had hit some rocks hard and banged up his knees pretty good. I got him up to the bench at the top and told him that all trail runners fall. You have to donate blood to the trail gods at least once a year, but he didn’t seem to buy that.
Steven took the rest of the boys down the trail to the shoreline and they had a good time skipping rocks.
Meanwhile, I piggybacked Bowie back down the hill and up the white trail to the trailhead. Somehow I even had to give Tatum a lift when he decided his leg hurt. Hmmm…
The boys played for a while on the playground. Well, except for poor Bowie with his bloody knees.
After all the volunteering and lugging heavy children for miles, I decided I was taking a break the rest of the day when we got home. I made up a couple batches of energy balls and laid my outfit out for my relay Sunday morning.