You can go here to read about the history of the race and then go here to see a 'fly over' of the course.
This was such a cool experience, and I have a new respect for Ultra Runners. Our aid station was at the bottom of the mountain just before the runners got on the tow path, and that section of the trail on the mountain is very rocky and technical. Add the leaves that have fallen and it makes for an extremely difficult stretch to run.
Runners were coming into the aid station with bloody knees, faces and arms, and torn tights. One guy lost two teeth. Another had to be taken off the mountain via an ATV. And most runners kept going. We only had 3 drop out at our aid station which I thought was incredible and very inspiring.
I parked at Brunswick and rode my bike the 3 miles to the aid station. It was one of those mornings where little things were going wrong - had to stop for gas, it was wicked cold, the front wheel on my bike was messed up and I couldn't engage the brake, I forgot I don't have a bottle cage on my bike so I had to carry my coffee in one hand and steer with the other (yes I looked ridiculous!) and I tore my favorite sweats on the chain thingy on my bike. BUT I could hardly complain because by the time I arrived to help set up the aid station, many runners had been out there for over 2 hours.
Coach Z had most of the stuff we would be using and we unloaded his Suburban and then Anne came with their pick up full of more stuff. And then another truck came with stuff leftover from an aid station earlier on the course. I was actually glad to help unload tons of stuff since it helped to pass the time and became a modified weights work out with some easy cardio.
Apparently, this is the FIRST year in the race's history to have potties at this stop. Many veteran runners were ecstatic over this!
On the far right of the picture is the trail the runners come down. See the pole with the white blaze? Just to the right of that.
After we got set up, we spent quite a bit of time just standing around. In the picture below, the tall guy on the left in black shorts was waiting for a friend whom he was apparently going to pace. He went from Pacer Friend to BANDIT when his friend arrived because he stuffed his pockets FULL of gels and PB&J's (and didn't even say thanks). Not cool, dude.
The C&O Canal towpath is a national park and their arrangement with the race director required that runners not enter the towpath until 8:30 am. That meant that any runners who arrived at our aid station before 8:30 had to stand around until they could cross the train tracks and get on the tow path.
They even had a Ranger with a bike and a taser show up. I guess he was going to chase down any rogue runners on his bike and taze them?? The few runners who arrived before 8:30 were very cool with hanging out and spent the time eating and stretching.
The guy below was wearing a kilt *and* sporting that wonderful Sean Connery accent. swoon! The guy to his left is wearing a 500 mile club shirt which means he's a 10 year veteran of the race. They also have members of the 1,000 mile club - 20 races X 50 miles = 1000. Amazing!!