You never know how things might work out.
Yesterday, I volunteered to work a water station, placed just past the 4th of the 9 mile Ragged Mountain Runaround, a first year trail running race organized by Steve Wagoner, taking place at the Camden Snow Bowl. My friend Trevor Mills was also with me, handing out water and encouragement.
The day was as humid as you can get- 100%. I have rode the exact course many times, on a mountain bike, but have never actually hiked it. We had radio communication and were updated as to runner progress. We knew when the last runner had started to head down from the top of the mountain toward us, with three miles to get to us, on a long downhill.
She was the 31st runner to pass us at our post, roughly half way done. We would see all of these runners again after they completed the 3+ mile-long Five Brooks Trail, and loop through this intersection a second time, as they headed down the mountain to the finish line.
We had a long wait, maybe a one hour wait. The mosquitoes were active today.
I got the idea to leave Trevor to hand out water, catch up with back of the pack, and serve as a “sweep”, to help out any injured or exhausted runners as they labored back to the finish line. At first I hiked fast, but then realized that I’d have to run a bit if I were to reach anyone before they made it back to the water station.
The problem is that I am not a runner- I haven’t run for at least 20 years, with knees that have both had the cartilage removed way back when. I knew the trail, and basically loped along in jogging mode, shuffling quickly over wet roots, rocks and ledges when necessary. The sections of softer forest floor were comforting. I was soon completely drenched in sweat, but got into it, and was surprised at just how quickly I moved, realizing that I was actually sometimes faster over some sections than when riding a bicycle over the same terrain.
I caught the last runner just after Massey Falls, when I hung back enough to stay out of the guy’s sight line. The last runner that passed us had obviously passed him.
I made it back to Trevor and the water station after 3.5 miles where I had a long drink.
Cool! I had fun, and I understand these trail running folks better now.