Surprise! That’s not Mike I’m pacing in. That is Sean, from Cincinnati. If he seems familiar, Mike paced him for his last ten miles at Mohican. So I did the same for Sean at Burning River.
I was at my aid station all day, getting the runners through at Happy Days. Bob, our Aid Station Captain, would periodically tell Adam and I, (Adam paced Josh) to sit down, rest, take care of ourselves, as we both had 35 miles to go to the finish line.
The night kept wearing on, and we started to get closer to the cutsoffs for our aidstation, I prepared to go. I was ready to go.
Waistpack on, water stowed ready to go. I even received the Shubi blessing as I prepared for battle.
As the night wore on, the temperature dropped nicely for the runners. If you were just sitting around the aid station resting, it was getting a bit chilly.
Josh hit our station with about 40 minutes to the cut off. Adam let out a huge whooop when he saw Josh. I heard it. So did Maria. Josh was all business as he grabbed several handfuls of food, tossed me and Maria a greeting, and headed back out on the trail, a fast aid station stop. He was focused on his race.
Still no Mike. Getting antsier and antsier. It didn’t help that, as each light appeared across the field the runners had to traverse, that Pebble kept saying “I see Mike Kim. That’s him.” And each time it was not Mike.
Finally, about 1228, (our AS Cut off was 1242) I went uptrail to see if I could find my runner. I found Mike, within a 1/2 mile. I told him we were almost out of time, and we started moving a bit faster. When we entered the field, I said I thought we might be at the cut off but we still needed to push it to the AS because I had not co-ordinated my watch with official race time.
It was so good to see the NEO Trail members running toward us on the trail, yelling RUN RUN!! And Mike was running. I know he was hurting bad, but he was running much faster than I was at my cutoff for Mo. We hit the AS and Mike slowed down and I ran through, and the NEO Trail members pretty much pushed us out of the AS down the trail, so quickly that I didn’t even have my waist pack! (I had left the AS so quickly before I didn’t even think about it.) Brian shortly appeared with it, though, thanks buddy!
Mike stopped shortly up the trail. He was hurting, and didn’t think he could make the cutoffs. So we walked back to the AS, which was now being dismantled.
I then went over to the Merrimam AS at Mile 91 Yes, that is Aid Station Captain E-Speed!
This was a disoriented jump in time for me. I had just left the back of the packers, and now I was at the point of the race where the first ten runners or so had just come through. It was kind of like a time travel! I got comfy in an AS chair and put some layers of clothing on, as the AS workers took care of the runners, and I looked to see if I could pick me up a runner.
I heard a familiar voice before long, it was my neighbor Wendy, who was pacing Gabe our 19 year old ultra neighbor. Wendy was snapping at Gabe in the aid station as he tried to dawdle. I looked at my watch and saw Wendy was going to pull Gabe to a sub 24 hour if he didn’t waste time. Gabe slumped over the AS table and was singing “I hate Wendy I hate Wendy” as we all laughed. Wendy and I kind of removed Gabe from the AS and they disapeared into the night. Gabe finished in 23.59.32!!!!!!!!!
As I sat there, getting more cold, I thought about who else I knew that was coming through. I knew Sean should be in soon, and Dave P, so I thought I would volunteer to pace either of them in.
Sean showed up first, and gladly accepted the company to the finish line!! Sean did not need a pacer, as he was still in very good shape for mile 91. We alternately walked and ran; Sean did alot of run for his last 9 miles of the race! It was a very nice way for me to end my volunteer time at BR!
Best pic I took at the race. Gabe was crashed out in his sleeping bag at the finish line. I said “Gabe, sub 24” and I got this smile: