Monday, March 20, 2006

Trail Running and Volunteering




















The weekend started with a bang! Friday night, I went to a St Pat's party at the neighbor's house. Saturday morning, 6 or 7 of us Trail Nerds ran on the trails at Kill Creek Park. Four of us stayed to run a total of 2-1/2 hours on the nice single track. Saturday afternoon, I ended up doing KC Track Club stuff, and driving around town with my dog. I spent Saturday evening loading up the Element with the aid station stuff for the Brew to Brew race on Sunday.

The Brew to Brew Run is a 44-mile relay and solo run on pavement, dirt roads and levee trails. The race starts at Boulevard Brewing in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and ends at Free State Brewing in Lawrence, Kansas...hence the name. This year, there were 2600 runners who signed up for it. Some of the Trail Nerds were going to run in the race, and others were going to man the last station and keep the runners safe and satisfied. This was my 3rd year as aid station captain.

Thanks goodness for the Trail Nerds who volunteered for aid station #9! We had nobody splatted or squished by a train, and everybody got through our "exchange" station in fine order! Traffic control and safety were our greatest concerns. Historically, this aid station has 20 - 30 high-speed trains pass by the aid station throughout the race day. It also has no real place to park (except at the side of the road), and the station always experiences a really crazy rush, between 1 and 3 p.m.

The hardworking brothers Doug and Terry Obershaw, were on rope/traffic duty on the far side of the tracks, and kept the forces of "mob rule" at bay. We abided by "railroad rules," and the Obershaw's made the railroad crossing safe for all of the participants. Doug even schmoozed the Leavenworth County Sheriff, who was visibly upset that "so many 'running nuts' were blocking HIS road."

Kyle Amos directed car traffic and runners across the tracks and into our aid/exchange station. He worked both sides of the tracks. He also would yell whenever a solo runner was arriving. Steve Mathews kept the aid stations refilled and ready for action and kept the runners navigated toward the water/gatorade. He also brought another table and some other "necessary items." Alex Kovalev and Jeff Perry filled-in wherever they were needed, (which was everywhere). Jeff brought food for us volunteers, and Matt Holmes even made a short appearance to bring us a much-needed "amber emulsion fluid dispensing tool." Other Trail Nerds filtered in/out and helped out as they had time, or before or after their team's runs.

Our goal of keeping the runners and drivers safe, and taking care of the special needs of the solo runners was met in fine style. Moving the solo runner's table away from the other tables and down the levee (a short distance), really helped keep the short-distance-food-vultures away from the solo's table, this year. We were once again totally self-sufficient, and even loaned water to the finish line. And everything from the aid station fit into my little Honda Element!

Luckily, the weather cooperated, and the only suffering we endured was a visible windburn. It could have been worse; snow and rain were predicted. After the race, we head to Liberty Hall in Lawrence for some good food and beer provided by the race. I got home at 6 p.m., and my wife had just gotten home from work. My son and I unloaded the Element in about 10-minutes, and I got the water jugs rinsed and soaking with sanitizer and water. I made a quick run to get barbeque for the three of us (before Sopranos came on). Whew! Another busy weekend of running and volunteering!

9 comments:

olga said...

Thanks to volunteers for making races possible!

Josh said...

Sorry I missed you man! I was busy getting our runners in and out -- four solo runners and all made it through okay b/c of the great volunteers.

running42k said...

Good for you giving back to running.

running42k said...

Good for you giving back to running.

D said...

I can't believe I missed you guys.

Rae said...

That sounds like such a fun race! The train pic is too funny!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

how awesome!!!

Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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