I had a nice time pacing fellow VHTRC’er Mark McKennett to his fifth 100 mile finish at the Mohican 100 Race.
I tracked Mark down at the Fire Tower, and began pacing him there. This was 10 pm Saturday night.
Mark did very well, hiking with a nice power walk, about 16 minute miles. Now, if you are a non-trail runner, this probably sounds incredibly slow. Remember, this is night time, and we have head lamps on-and Mark has already completed 66 miles. Oh, and this is on a trail, with roots and rocks.
We got back to the start/finish, and started the final loop. Mark actually ran a bit of this, I think because he just wanted to get done.
The wheels fell off, around the Fire Tower. His toes were really bothering him, and we were at a very slow walk.
Mark was a good trooper, though, no whining from him, and I complimented him on that. Other than mentioning his feet hurt, that was about it.
I did the typical pacer routine-I chattered on and on about everything and nothing. Mark was very quiet. He did tell me at some point it was fine for me to talk, he was just too tired to respond. I also told him he was fine to tell me to “shut the fuck up” whenever my chattering was too much for him-which allowed me to tell the “shut the fuck up” story about two other ultra running friends.
This was my first return to Mohican since crewing there in 2009, I believe.
My constructive criticism:
The course was very well marked. Lots of signs, and colored arrows on the ground. I don’t see how you could go off course. Well done.
Runner Tracking-the race had a new tracking system set up. When I arrived at the Start/Finish HQ of the race, I could punch in Mark’s bib number, and see where he had checked in on the course. This was very helpful to find your runner out there.
Volunteers-all the volunteers were very nice and helpful.
Aid Stations-this has nothing to do with the volunteers-the aid stations were pretty poor. Poor on food and organization. Now this was late into the race day, 10 pm at night. No aid station, other than the Covered Bridge, had any hot food. There seemed to be plenty of oranges, watermelon, and bananas. There was usually some chips and PB&J sandwiches. The only item I tried to eat was a freshly made turkey and cheese sandwich. There just was not enough-and at some AS, no veteran volunteers. When a runner is late into a 100 mile race, it is hard to eat. And that is when the runner needs calories. The only thing Mark was eating was watermelon (little calories there) and turkey and cheese squares. One AS was just a wreck. I was cutting watermelon with the dullest knife ever. I then was able to fish a fresh banana out of their stash still below the table.
I am glad I paced at the 2012 race. I have mentioned before, if it seems the race shows steady improvement, I would run it again. I will not be back for the race, plenty of other races to spend my $$ at.
It was good to see friends out there, and see Mark Carroll finish his 10th Mohican, 1000 miles of Mohican!!