Friday, September 28, 2012

AS 18 at the Monster

Dallas and I manned the 18 mile aid station at the inaugural Mogollon Monster 100 today. We drove up from Tucson to Payson in the morning, leaving around 6am, and arrived around 9:15am at the Pine TH, the start of the race. After seeing the 37 starters take off at 10am, we loaded up all of the aid station supplies and headed to Geronimo TH. 

Jeremy, our good friend and the Race Director, arrived in a U-Haul with the larger aid station supplies. He helped unload with me while Dallas was doing some last minute marker checks on a portion of trail between Geronimo and Washington Park. A Forest Service person was out doing some clearing and let us know (after talking our heads off) that the trails were in pretty bad shape. Runners later confirmed this. Jeremy took off to attend to other race duties, and we finished getting set up.

About 2 hours into the race, crews were starting to arrive, waiting for their runners. Jamil Coury was the first runner through around 1pm. 

He mentioned that runners were already off course and we got worried. With no cell phone reception, we had no way to communicate to the RD. Runners kept coming in, reporting that they had gone off course. We felt helpless to do anything but refill runner's bottles, give them food to eat, and provide first aid supplies. We hoped for the best.

Dixie and Elvis were the aid station dogs, and enjoyed drinking the creek water and licking the runner's already salty legs.

Hey, why can't I taste the salt on this runner? Ed - the Jester
I wonder what Elvis is thinking here

After almost 6 hours into the race, almost all of the runners came through. We had one runner to account for out of the 37. Finally, a car drove up. We asked this person if he was here for the last runner. He said, 'No, I am the last runner'. What!?!? Due to some questionable course markers, he turned down West Webber trail like many other runners. However, he never realized he was off track and instead, ended up back at the parking lot, the start of the race. He decided his race was over and drove over to let us know he had dropped. We talked with Jim for a while; he was definitely upset. We listened to him and shared some of our trail stories for quite some time. We felt so bad for him.

So, we had 3 drops overall. We packed up the supplies and headed down the control road to the Washington Park aid station (the next one), site of the race headquarters. After letting them know about the drops and unloading, we headed back down to Tucson. We arrived at 10:30pm, exhausted but excited about the day's events. 

How exciting it was to meet the runners and see some new and old friends! 

Dallas is considering this race for next year. With only 9 finishers out of 37 starters, it is apparent it is a tough course. If that happens, I will be his crew. 

Congratulations to Jamil Coury for killing the course, finishing 1st place in 22:24. He even had time to change a tire for an elderly couple on one of the backroads during the race. :)

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