As we drove by the Clackamas Lake Ranger Station on Saturday morning, the little guy exclaimed, "It's great to be back here!". My feeling exactly! We had returned to manage the day shift at the Warm Springs aid station (mile 38.5) for the inaugural running of the Hundred in the Hood ultramarathon.
We were originally slated to start at noon, but I wanted to be sure we were set-up and ready for any speedsters. So we picked up our supplies, got to our spot and were set up by 10 am. Good thing because the first guy came through at 10:30. As of this writing I don't know the results, but I wouldn't be surprised if he won. He emerged from the trail looking like he was out for a leisurely stroll...not like someone who just competed 38.5 miles at a 8:30 pace...with 64+ miles to go. Amazing to witness!
Thirty minutes later a small group came through. Apparently the aid station before was not yet set up...so they were very happy to see us! And we were happy to serve. The little guy helped direct the runners to our table and found out what they wanted in their bottles. He also ran up the trail a few times to return a forgotten bottle. Marc and Pat (also helping out), filled their packs and bottles. I made sure the food was plentiful and passed out the electrolytes as necessary. I've helped out at other races and aid stations, but have never been the one responsible and have never done an all day shift. So I was excited but a little anxious about doing a good job and not letting anyone down. We've had other stuff going on lately so I didn't have a lot of time lately to think too much about it. But last minute I wanted to have something special. So Friday night I baked some pumpkin bread. It seemed to be well-received...I hope everyone liked it!
We worked steadily until the last runners came through at about 5 pm. Then it was just a waiting game until our friends Gail and Bret arrived to relieve us at 7pm. I thought the first guy might come back through (mile 91) before we left, but he ended up coming through just after, at about 8pm (we found out from the ham operator back at the start.)
Now that I know more of what goes into putting together an aid station, I can't wait to do it again. We saw a few drops at our station, so I know there was some disappointments. But I hope all the runners are proud of their accomplishments. And thanks to Olga and Mike for bringing a 100 to Oregon. I can't wait to come back next year and maybe, just maybe, come back as a runner some day.