Monday, December 27, 2010

65 miles, 17 hours and 48 minutes

It's been a little longer than I'd realized since my last post - the last few weeks have flown by! I'll try to write a few in the next couple days to catch everyone up!

Beginning at 12:01am Saturday December 11, my husband set out to run the Hellgate 100k ultra race in and around the mountains of Roanoke, VA.  It was about 23* at the start...and 120ish crazy people were out there to run with him. 

I saw him off at the start (picture to the left) and then drove to Aid Station #4 to settle in for the night.  All snuggled in the back of the 4runner with my sleeping pad, pillows, down comforter and new Patagonia 2 pants, I was quite cozy!  I set my alarm for 530 am (it was about 130 at this point) and went onto sleep.  Up at 530, he came through aid station #4 feeling pretty good, right around 6am.

After I sent him on again I packed it up and headed to AS #5...he arrived just as the sun was coming was about 25* at this point, and he was going strong!

This picture is as he's leaving #5 around just looks so miserable doesn't it?!  I still to this day don't understand this...

So onto #6, 7, 8, and 9 I would go, waiting each time for him to come in.  We changed socks, shoes, left the headlamp in the morning and then took it again as dark was coming.  At one point he came in saying he needed a new jacket, as he had left his with a runner in distress out on the trail.  There's sure something different about this trail running crowd - you want to finish the race yourself, but you're not going to just run past someone in need without stopping to help.
 Here are some aid station photos - this is #7.  It's hard for people to picture who have never been out there.  The picture with the grill is a man cooking hamburgers for the runners (and aid station workers).  The one below is a typical scene.  You can see the drop bags off to the left of the photo - runners who don't have crews with them (that's what I'm called) can fill bags and they will be taken to specific stations for them.  This way they can restock on gu's or clothing or whatever they might need along the way.
The poster gives the station number, total mileage and how many they have until the next station.  They always have sodas and food for the runners.  Lots of times, especially for these colder races, they'll have soup in cups, and also bananas, Pringles, MandMs, and all kinds of other foods.  They'll grab a few and keep moving!  Matt usually spends anywhere from just a few minutes to maybe 15 at stations, depending on the length of race and his timing. 
 This photo is just before aid station #8 - it's under the stone bridge you can see at the curve in the road.  Despite the cold, it was a beautiful day!

And finally, the finish!  17:48:38.  There to greet him is Dr. Horton, the race director.  As he runs up the finish line, they call out for his number - then Dr. Horton checks the list and shouts out the runner's name, and something about him - his first Hellgate, or Beast Series finisher (a series of 6 ultras including this one) or something else - it's really a pretty cool welcoming to the finish line!

This completed his 9th race in 2010.  He's on the short end of the waiting list for MMT 100 in May, and has plans to do several other new and old races in 2011!  After a 3 week break and the holidays, he will be back out there!

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