Sunday, June 2, 2013

stalking, restraining orders and The Northface Endurance Challenge

It was my third year volunteering for Northface Endurance Challenge in DC.  I really enjoy this event (I guess that is why I've volunteered there for the last three years.)  The only bad thing about the Endurance Challenge is that I have to get up at 3 am to make it to the park by 5 am.  Always a rough morning.  Becky, Megan and I headed out to meet Bill and the other volunteers to start our day of volunteering.  I was super excited to see Dean Karnazes again. (if you remember correctly he sort of had a crush on me last year when we met in the food tent)

Yeah he has his eye on me!  
This year I didn't get to stalk talk to Dean.  He sent the runners off and the headed somewhere.  I was not quick enough to follow him.  I thought he was going to come back.  Next year I will be a better stalker fan and follow him around.

He did walk past and said hi and touched Megan's shoulder.  I hope his eyes are not wondering to Megan now!  I'm sure that is not the case because as you can tell in the picture from last year he clearly has eyes only for me.  

On Saturday The Northface has three races running through Great Falls, VA, a 50 miler, a 50K and a marathon.  This Saturday it was supposed to get up in the 90's (and I am pretty sure that it did.)  The runners were great, but you could tell that the heat was really taking a toll on their race.

Becky and I were manning the bib marking areas before most of the runners were going to start to make their loop or loops through Great Falls.  This is our third time doing this, so we have a pretty good system down.  Becky loves marking the runners bibs too.  So we were really excited!

Then the Northface guy known today as Peter Pan comes and breaks the news to us.  We just need to write down their numbers, the people near the loop will be marking the bibs as they run the 7 mile loop.  Becky was really sad.  She looked forward to marking the guys bibs that were placed on the front of their shorts.  So after Becky came to the realization that she was not going to be feeling up random guys marking bibs we settled in for our first runner.

Look who is running towards us..

It is local runner Michael Wardian!  He was probably 4th or 5th when he got to us (he ran the 50 miler) and then when he left us at mile 35 he was in first place!  He ended up winning with an average pace of 8:09 (yeah that is pretty close to my 50 mile pace)  

Becky and I were having fun writing down the bib numbers.  Runners were not as close together as in years past..the heat was really slowing a lot of people down.  Which worked in our favor because we didn't have to write down fifty peoples bib numbers at one time.  Most people looked surprisingly well.  The 50 milers started at 5 am so when they got 19 miles in and to us they were not looking too bad.  Now when they left us at mile 35 that was a different story.  The people who really started to look bad were the marathoners who had the latest start of all of the runners (I think they may have started at 9 am.)  I had a fair amount of runners take DNF's from 11:30 on.  The heat was just brutal on those runners yesterday.  We were concerned about the mad rush of marathoners we were expecting and writing down their numbers, but it never really happened.  Because of the heat the marathoners were much slower and really spread out on the course.  One man told me he didn't see another runner until mile 9 which is really unusual.  As the marathoners were starting to dwindle down, Becky was pulled to work at the aid station near the loop.  The fifty milers had to run 3 loops so this was a pretty busy aid station late in the day.  I headed over to the aid station near my area to talk to Megan Jen, Charlie and Northface guy known as Unicorn (you can't make up these nicknames folks!)  I helped hold down a chair and chat with runners while keeping an eye out for any marathoners.  

It was a hot day for runner and volunteers.  Megan and I needed a nice cold coke like nobody's business!  So while walking back with our cold beverages, we see two girls eyeing up our cokes like junkies trying to score their next hit.  So since we love runners we gave these girls our cold cokes to help them get through the last leg of their 50K.  Yeah runners are great people!  

As we are sitting around chatting working hard, a runner comes over to ask Megan if she can walk on his back.  His weighted vest (who wears a weighted vest to run a 50k??) is causing his back to hurt.  So Megan being the nice person that she is decides to kill random guy and let all of the other runners know this is what happens when you mess with the family (Godfather style!).  

 I don't know about you, but when you are trying to walk on someones back and do your best godfather speech you need a man named Unicorn to help you balance.  :)

(no runner was actually harmed in the following pictures)  Runner 919 did survive and wanted us to have a picture of the weighted vest which caused his problems.  I told him to look sad since the vest was horrid to him! lol  Ah the people that you meet while volunteering!

We also met up with some Marathon Maniacs.  They wanted our picture together since Megan told them that she is a Half Fanatic and trying to become a double agent and join the Marathon Maniacs.

Speaking of people you meet while volunteering...Charlie was in charge of us near the aid station/bib check.  I noticed while I was holding down a chair at the aid station that people were asking Charlie for a picture.  Hmm  I want to know why.  Maybe I want my picture with Charlie too!  Megan told me I should ask Charlie what he does, which I did.  It took thirty minutes to get out of him what he really did.  Charlie Engle...
is an Ultra runner.  He ran across the US and has ran the Sahara Dessert!  He has a documentary about running the Sahara.  I quickly gave Charlie my full name so he can start the paperwork for the restraining order he may need to file.  After that I felt like I got to interview him.  I just kept asking questions about his life.  So interesting!  Who goes out to run what they thought was a 10K race his longest race yet (which turns out that it was a 100K race in Australia) and ends up winning his first 100K race?!   Crazy!  He is also running Badwater in 6 weeks.  Ummm..hello I know who I going to add to my stalking list! :)  Charlie was really nice and funny made the end of the volunteering job lots of fun!  

After our day of volunteering Bill, Liana, Becky, Megan I all met up for dinner since someone was older today than they were yesterday!  Happy Birthday Megan!!  


Anonymous said...

LOVE! Let it be known, that no runner was harmed in the walking on backs! 919 is alive and well, somewhere, I think! I hope.

It's always a fun day!

Jaime said...

This post was hilarious! Sounds like a fun time. :)

Kim said...

Sounds incredible!!! I wish we had big races around here that I could volunteer at - might have to travel some for that!!
Awesome to meet a great ultra runner!!

Erin said...

I just came across your blog! I'm also a runner in the No. VA area, an elementary teacher, and just started up a blog of my own!

Running Librarian said...

Erin, thanks for leaving a comment! I will check out your blog! :)