Pacers/Crew Guide to
This is a guide to the Leadville
Trail 100 Run, for Pacers, Crew, and
Racers. Although focused mainly on pacing, I think the information us
valuable to crew and runners too.
Since 1996, I've paced and crewed 8
times, raced twice with top-20,
sub-23hr finishes, and have coached several runners. I've worked with
runners from all parts of the pack including
perennial top 5 finisher Joe Kulak, several 25-27 hour finishers, and
runners who have dropped. I have also crewed at the LT100 mountain bike
race twice. I know the race from the inside out and gladly share my
knowledge, including some insider tips that you can't find elsewhere.
This was originally posted to the
LT100 Yahoo Group, in 2004, and has been revised several times over the
years. Use the Outline headings to navigate.
Please send me feedback - comments, suggestions
for improvement, critiques. Or, you can post your comments on my blog.
What is pacing? Briefly, pacing is
runner during the race. A pacer is part friend, coach, psychologist,
nutritionist, and mule (see below). A good pacer can play a big
a runner's success, sometimes even determining whether or not a runner
even finishes. Ultra running is as much a psychological challenge, as
it is a physical one. A pacer can do a lot to help a runner through the
- Pacing Basics: What is pacing.
Why pacers. Should/can you pace.
- How To and Pacing Strategies.
- Pacing Legs. Tip: Don't
change at Halfmoon. Change at Tree Line or Fish Hatchery instead.
- Pacing Gear.
- Crew and Aid Stations.
- Finding a pacer, or runner to
pace. It's possible even on race day.
Muling refers to carrying gear for the
Unlike most other ultras, muling is not only allowed at Leadville, it
is encouraged. This can mean carrying food, water, clothing, lights,
and batteries. I'll talk about what and how to carry stuff in the Gear
Should you pace? Yes. If you or a friend
on the fence about pacing, jump in. Pacing is a fun and motivating.
You'll feel their joys and triumphs,
their pain and struggles. It can be an extremely powerful experience to
be out there with "ordinary" people doing amazing things.
Pacing is also a great way to learn
about Leadville and ultras. If
you're thinking about getting into ultras, this is a great way to
learn, from the inside, about the course, race tactics, managing crew
and pacers, gear, nutrition, the mental challenge, etc.
Who can pace? Almost anyone. You don't
have to be an
ultra runner. You don't have to be that fast. Most racers will be doing
a lot more walking
than running over the last 50 miles. Even when they do run, it won't be
that fast. Only the top runners will be running sub 10 min/mile pace,
even on the flats.
Pacing legs are as short as 4 miles,
or as long as 50. So, you don't
have to be able to go that far. Even if you do end up going longer than
you're used to, you'll probably be going a lot slower than you're used
to going on your long runs. So, as long as you are taking in fuel and
fluids, you may be surprised at how easy it is to go far. My first
ultras were done pacing at Leadville.
You don't even have to be a
"runner." A good, strong, hiker can make a
great pacer. As I said above, most of the racers will be walking most
of the last 50 miles. So, if you can hike for several hours, at night,
at 10,000', you can pace many of the runners in the field, especially
over the mountain passes where they'll likely be walking anyway. I have
friend, who has paced several times, who can't run a 60 minute 10k, but
is a strong hiker.
2. How to
There's more to pacing than just
tagging along. In this section, I will
give you tips to help you get the most out of your runner, and get the
most out of your pacing experience, and how to deal with a struggling
Rule #1: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
You can't help, and may even hurt your runner's chances if you end up
struggling. Make sure that you have enough food, fluids, the proper
clothing, lights, extra batteries, etc. At Leadville, you need to be
prepared for varied terrain, rapidly changing weather, and to be out
there longer than expected. I'll talk more about gear in part 3, later.
Rule #2: You are there to be of
service to the runner. It's their race.
Put your own personal agendas aside for a few hours and strive to
accommodate whatever wishes they have.
Everyone has different preferences
about where they want you, what they
want you to carry, how much they want you to talk, etc. Let the runner
dictate the routine and the relationship. If you know your
runner/pacer, talk about these things ahead of time. If you're meeting
each other on race day, use the start of your time together to figure
out a routine. Regardless of what you may have worked out, be prepared
to change. The runner will likely go through different emotional and
physical states during the race. Each change may require a different
run? Some like you in front of
some behind, some alongside. When I'm racing, on a single-track trail,
I runner usually like to be in front - I like to see the terrain, and
the unobstructed sight helps me go faster - with my pacer behind. This
is especially true on
the steep climbs and descents, like Hope Pass. Others like their pacer
in front. Having the pacer set the pace helps pull them along.
When running behind, you'll want to
stay far enough back so that you
have clear view of the trail (you don't want to be staring at their
heels or back the whole way), yet close enough that you can hear them
talk, and quickly scoot up to hand them a water bottle, etc. When
running in front, look back periodically and try to maintain a constant
When the trail is wider, many
runners want their pacer alongside. When
I'm pacing, I'll always try to give the runner the inside on curves,
often crossing from side to side, behind the runner, as the trail bends.
This may change at night. While I generally want my pacer behind me
during the day, at night, on rocky single-track, I like having them in
front. They can pick the better line through the rocks so I don't have
to think about it, and the extra light in front helps illuminate the
trail; from behind can cast a shadow. There are a few very short
sections that are extremely rocky (especially along the Colo Trail,
from Hagerman Rd down to Mayqueen). There, it may help for the pacer to
go through first, then turn and shine their lights down on the rocks as
the runner traverses them. See more on lights below.
stuff, I use a baton relay
hand off. They'll tell me what they want. When I have it ready, I'll
move closer and tell the runner to hold out his/her hand. This allows
both of you to keep moving while you're exchanging gear.
or not to talk? That depends on
runner. I've seen runners and pacers chatting for hours. Others like to
stay stoic and focused. Even then, it's still a good idea to check in
with them periodically and see how they're feeling. Remind them to eat
and drink if necessary, but don't nag. They may ask you to remind them
to take an electrolyte tablet at a specific time interval.
struggles at some point in an
Success depends on how you deal with the low points. A pacer can help a
runner get through those times. However, lifting the spirits of a
struggling runner can be a difficult task. There are no simple tricks.
Everyone deals with the struggles differently and responds to different
tactics. As a pacer, be prepared to try different things and see how
the runner responds. Have a few stories or jokes ready. Mental
struggles are often caused by physical struggles, so make sure they eat
Try to keep them moving. Each step
gets them that much closer to the
finish. Look for and point out milestones and positives; e.g., "good
effort on that last hill." Touching their back or shoulder can help.
You're not allowed to push them, but often a light touch seems to help
their energy. You can play games with them to keep them moving, such as
running to the next tree. One time, I had to negotiate with my runner.
We agreed on having him run for 30 seconds (on the flats), with a
minute of walking. I had the watch, so I tricked him, and had him run
for a minute at a time. Even someone feeling strong may need some
reminders to run the flat and downhill sections. Remind them to keep
their leg speed up. Short, quick strides are usually more efficient and
faster than long, slow strides, especially when they're tired.
No matter how much they are hurting,
it's often better to have them go
a bit faster, or at least keep the same pace, rather than slowing down.
If it doesn't hurt any less when
they slow down, they might as well go fast (relatively). The sooner
they finish, the sooner the pain will stop.
There's a rare incident that your runner
will get injured between Aid
Station (AS). If that happens, you need to make sure
your runner is safe, then get word to the nearest AS. In most cases,
you should stay with your runner. Chances are, another runner/pacer
will be along soon. Tell them your runner's name and number, and ask
them to get the word to the AS crew. Many pacers are EMTs and are
willing to help the runner. In that case, it may be better to let them
stay with the runner, and have you run to the nearest AS. Don't
administer medical assistance yourself if you are not qualified to do
so. If you are a pacer and come across an injured runner, be prepared
to leave your healthy runner to get to the nearest AS as quickly as
possible, even if that means running back along the course.
In 1999, a friend of mine was pacing
someone up the Powerline. His
runner became hypothermic. They laid down along the trail, and the
pacer spooned with the runner to help keep him warm. An EMT pacer came
along with his runner. The EMT stopped, while his runner kept going to
get word to the AS. They got the runner moving again. He regained his
energy and finished strongly.
Occasionally, a runner will drop a pacer, meaning that the pacer
can't keep up. It's not the responsibility of the runner to wait for
the pacer. If, as a pacer, you find yourself struggling to keep up,
it's up to you to let the runner know, and to tell them to go ahead
without you. If you're the runner, and you find your pacer is
repeatedly falling behind, you need to ask them if they're OK. As long
as they're not injured, if they're holding you up, it's OK to go ahead
on your own. Remember rule #1 of pacing - TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
FIRST! Even if the pacer is slightly
injured, if they are well enough to be able to get to an aid station on
their own, and they have enough clothing, food and fluids, it still may
be OK to leave them.
3. Pacing Legs
There are four main pacing legs:
The descriptions and
mileage can help you find your way and gauge your
time and distance, whether you are pacing or running. I've done this
for 10 years, and I believe my intermediate mile estimates are more
accurate than the course description on the LT100 web site.
Winfield, 50mi - Twin Lakes, 60.5mi
This is my favorite section to pace.
There are great views, both from
the summit towards town, and behind you, to the south, as you are
climbing. Everyone goes over the top in daylight, so you can enjoy the
views. It's also the earliest pacing section, so your runner be
relatively fresh and more likely in good spirits.
From Winfield, it's ~2.5mi, slightly
downhill, on a dirt road, to the
trailhead. This stretch can be quite crowded in the middle of the pack,
with runners and cars going in both directions. In past years you could
crew and start pacing at the trailhead, rather than at the turnaround.
This cut down on much of the vehicle traffic along the course.
Unfortunately, that's not allowed any more.
From the trailhead, you climb 2,900'
in ~2.5mi to Hope Pass. Everyone
(except Matt Carpenter) hikes this section. The first half is forested.
If it rains, it can be surprisingly (for Colorado) humid in the trees
You'll pass two rocky stretches a couple of minutes apart. The second
one seems to be about half-way to the top, in terms of time.
Once you clear the trees, you can almost see the pass. It's still a
long way, with some extra steep sections (as if it wasn't already steep
are exposed here. So, if you have wet weather, you'll want to keep
From the top, you'll see the
Hopeless aid station (AS) in the meadow
below, ~¾ mile down the trail.
Below Hopeless, you can really fly
if you're a good downhill runner.
You enter the forest shortly after leaving the AS. The first part of
the trail has pretty good footing. As you get lower, parts of the trail
are rocky and rooted.
When you come out of the trees at
the bottom, you have ~1.5mi to Twin
Lakes. You'll continue north and cross the river. If the water is high,
there may be a rope
to help you across. After crossing the river, the trail turns south.
This last stretch can be marshy. As you're heading south, look for a
round hill on your left. Once around this hill, you're only ~100 yards
from the TL lot. Look for their crew in the parking lot, or continue
through the lot, left across the road, up a block, then left to the AS.
Twin Lakes, 60.5, - Treeline, 72.5, or
Hatchery (FH), 76.5.
This is the prettiest section, in
daylight, and the nicest running trail of the
There's a short, steep hill leaving
the aid station, a short, steel drop, then a right turn onto a steep,
rocky, 4wd road. You then hit a single-track and enter the trees. This
is a nice, rolling climb, ~2mi. The sub-25 runners will run large parts
of the climb. At a small, dirt, parking area, you merge with the
Colorado Trail, go left, and cross a bridge. This is nice, rolling
terrain, through groves of aspen and pine. After another couple of
miles, you'll take a right off the Colorado Trail. This is a new
section, added in 2009, and I haven't been on it. It's ~8.5mi from Twin
Lakes to the Halfmoon AS.
DON'T SWITCH PACERS AT HALFMOON.
During the race, crew vehicles are not
allowed on the road above Treeline. In order to start/end pacing at
Halfmoon, you'll have to hike or bike in/out. If you start pacing at
Twin Lakes, you should continue down the road to Treeline, or on to
From Halfmoon, it's ~2mi down the
Pipeline road. Go left, and it's ~1mi up to Treeline. You should be
able to see lights and hear noise from the crews as you approach. You
come into Treeline from the SE and turn right. Crews set up along the
dirt road, just below the last line of trees -
thus the name Treeline.
From Treeline, continue another 1 mi
down the dirt road. On the
return, cars share this stretch of road with the runners. Near the
end of the dirt road, the runners veer left onto the old road. This is
a little shorter, and rockier, than the dirt road sections where the
cars go. Go left for ~1.5 miles on the paved road, then left for
another 1.5mi up to FH. This is most people's least favorite
part to race or pace. However, if you're looking for a short pacing
section, this may be for you.
Fish Hatchery, 76.5, - Mayqueen, 86.5
This take you up the infamous power
line, and over the last big hill of
the course, Sugarloaf. Maintaining good energy is important on the
climb. If you are cold and your energy lags, you may not be able to
move fast enough on the climb to stay warm.
Exit down from the AS, then go left
1 mile along the paved road to the
trail head. Sometimes the residents cheer you on
from the houses along the road. The road rises from FH. It crests
around a right curve. The road curves back to the left, drops a bit
steeply just before the power line trail. Look for a small dirt road
dropping off to the left. There are usually crew waiting by the trail
head, but last year, there wasn't when a first time LT100 racer and
pacer came through. They missed the turn and were about another mile
down the road before someone directed them back.
Go left onto the power line trail.
Cross the creek (look for wood planks on the right). Take a left
shortly after the creek under the powerlines. The wide path winds off
to the left of the powerlines for a couple of hundred yards, then back
under the powerlines before the real climbing starts.
The first pitch is the steepest, so
don't be too intimidated. There's a short, steep downhill just
after that. Then, it's a series of seemingly endless stair steps. Many
runners will walk the steep pitches, then jog the flats. Don't let your
runner get lazy. Don't be fooled by the false summits. The top is where
you cross the Colorado Trail and emerge from the forest cover.
From the top, the 4wd road starts
flat, or even a little uphill, then
descends and gradually gets steeper as you wind though a couple of
turns. Parts of this road can be rocky. You take a sharp, right turn at
the Hagerman road, the first one
you hit. It's almost exactly 1mi down that road to the trail. Look for
flagging, in the daytime, or glow sticks, at night. Go left down onto
trail. The first part is the steep and loose. After that the descent is
fairly mild, but the trail is quite rocky and rooty. You cross 3
bridges on the way down. The last one is only ~150 yards from the road.
As you hit the road, there's usually someone taking your number and
radioing it on to the aid station. Go
right down the paved road, and it's ~1/3 mi to Mayqueen. Go left into
the campground, cross the bridge, then
left up the dirt to the AS tent.
Mayqueen, 86.5 - Finish
Bringing someone home can be the
most fun and inspiring part of pacing. The trail around the lake is fun
to run, especially in daylight, but most runners will be coming through
there at night, and most will be walking
Exit the tent and head down the dirt
to the road, go left on the paved
road for ½mi,
then onto the trail around the lake. This first part is a true single
track. It is rocky in spots, but not overly technical. It rolls up and
down, but never gets too
far from the lake. The Tabor boat ramp, the last crew stop, is ~5¼mi
from Mayqueen. It comes up on you quick, so you may not even see it
until you are there.
After Tabor, the trail becomes
pretty flat, smooth and
open. This is a good place to stretch out your stride, if you have the
legs. If you're coming through this stretch at night, pay attention to
the glow sticks marking the trail. You run by several campgrounds, and
it's easy to get drawn off the trail to the left, away from the lake,
by the campground lights. It's ~1.5mi to the other boat ramp, then
another ~1/2mi to the end of the trail.
The end of the Turquoise Lake Trail,
where you cross the road, can be
another good place to crew and change pacers. Although it's not an
official crew station, race management is aware that people crew there
and condone it (at least before the sale in 2010). Check with the new
management. There's about 6.5mi to go. This
last stretch is all on dirt and paved roads, so it's good for someone
who doesn't like trails. For crewing, there's a dirt turnout, with room
for several cars, on the S side of the road, a bit E of the T road
intersection, at the top of the short
power line section. This is a lot easier to get to, and easier to find
at night than the Tabor boat ramp.
Jog left across the road, then down
a short, steep, rocky section,
under a power line. Turn left at the bottom of the short trail, onto
the dirt road. Continue up the dirt road for ~1.25mi, then another
¼ mi on the paved road to the RR tracks. Note: just before the
RR tracks, where the road crosses the river, can be the coldest part of
the course. Both you and the runner should be prepared, but it warms up
(relatively) quickly as you rise to the RR tracks. There's about 4.5 mi
to go from the RR tracks.
Go right and follow alongside the RR
tracks for ~1mi. This is a flat, but undulating road. There can be
pools of water in the dips. Go left up a
short, steep hill. You are now on the "Boulevard." The top of the steep
hill is ~5km to go. The road is wide and smooth, and the grade fairly
moderate. If it's raining, it'll be muddy and a bit slick. You'll see a
streetlight at the end of the dirt
road. Don't get too excited yet. The light is still almost 1 mi away.
The road bends left ~80 yards before you reach the pavement. This is
1mi from the finish.
Once you hit the
pavement, give it all you've got for the uphill finish. You can have
all of your pacers and crew meet you at the bottom of 6th, and escort
you up to the finish. At the crest of the hill, ~½
mi to go, look for a volunteer on the right side of the street. He/she
will ask for your number, then radio ahead to the finish so that they
can announce your impending arrival. It's another 2 blocks down, then 3
blocks up to the finish.
If you're looking for a shorter leg to
the following: 1) Treeline to
Fish Hatchery; 1mi dirt and 3mi paved road. 2) End of Turquoise Lake
Trail to finish; ~6.5mi, dirt and paved roads. See above for
4. Pacing Gear
Pacing is different than doing a
training run. First, think in terms of
time, not mileage. Think of Hope Pass as a 2.5-5 hour run, not a 10 mi
run. Most runners will take 2-4 hours between most aid stations (AS).
However, a struggling runner might take a lot longer. Be prepared for
Second, you will likely be going
slower than on a training run. Going
slower is not necessarily easier. If you haven't done much hiking, slow
running, or power hiking on steep trails, you may be using unfamiliar
muscles for a stride that's a lot slower than you are used to. You will
also be generating less body heat than you may be used too. Thus, you
may need more food and clothing than you expect.
Also, the weather in the mountains
can change rapidly. Even if it's
sunny when you start, it could turn cold and wet before you get to the
next AS. Almost every year, I see people leaving Twin Lakes or Winfield
without a warm shirt or jacket, when it's sunny. And, almost every
year, it's cold and wet over Hope Pass.
Carry more than enough food, fluids,
clothing, etc. to get you to the
next AS. Going back to my key rule, in my part 1 posting, make sure you
take care of yourself first. If you struggle, you can't help your
runner. If you are going to "mule" for your runner, carry their food
and gear, you'll also need room for that. I race light, but pace heavy.
How do you carry all of that gear?
When I'm pacing, I like to carry a
medium size hiking/mountain biking type hydration pack, or a small
adventure racing pack. I prefer something on my back for pacing, over a
hip pack, because they usually have more space for gear, and leave the
waist free for other stuff (e.g., an additional pack for water bottles,
tying shirts). Look for
something that holds a 70-100oz hydration bladder, with storage for
clothing, food, batteries, etc.
I also like wearing a bike shirt
when I'm pacing. I can use the pockets
for smaller items that I'll need to get more quickly and frequently
(e.g., gels, gloves, batteries). It takes a little extra time to get to
my stuff from my pack.
I try to carry as much of my
runner's stuff as possible. I may use
a one or two bottle hip pack for his/her bottles, in addition. I've
even carried a 3rd bottle in my hand. One year, I carried my runners
hip based CamelBak, and handed her the tube whenever she wanted a
drink. Don't be afraid to load yourself to make it easier, and lighter,
for your runner. Remember, you're there to serve them.
Practice tying clothing around your
waist. This can include shirts,
jackets and pants. One year, my runner was very cold, and left Fish
Hatchery wearing a lot of extra layers. He started shedding them by the
time we started climbing Powerline. At one point, I had a long sleeve
shirt, fleece pullover, rain jacket, and rain pants tied around my
waist, in addition to the CamelBak and hip pack. By the top, he became
cold and it was snowing, so we ended up using it all. There's a helpful
technique for tying jackets: 1)pull the zipper almost all the way down;
2)take your arms out and tie the sleeves around your waist; 3)pull the
zipper up as much as you can; 4)tuck the sleeves inside and roll the
jacket up under the zipper. This helps keep the jacket tight and from
to carry a small, first aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, Ibuprofen, space
blanket, etc. Check with the runner. Carry a watch. It'll help you
judge the distance, and keep track of how often both of you are
Lights - Carry
a light, even if you expect to finish in daylight. Things can
happen on the course, and you may be out longer than you think. Carry
extra batteries, know where they are, and how to change them on the
run. Light technology has
improved greatly in the last couple of years, and the prices have come
down greatly, so there's no reason not to have a bright light or two.
Get a light that's designed more for running, or at least fast hiking,
at least 25 lumens. Lights for use around camp may not be bright enough
for moving briskly along the trail. Two lights are often better than
one, with the brighter light in your hand. Two lights give better
vision because different angles overcome shadows created by a single
light. Having the brighter light down low keeps the glare away from
your eyes, improving contrast. A second light also lets you shine the
light on the trail in front of the runner on a particularly rocky
section, while you can still use the headlamp for yourself. While a
hand light is not as easy to carry, a simple handle, even one made out
of duct tape, lets you keep the light in your hand while keeping your
fingers free to grab things out of packs or pockets. Hand lights are
usually cheaper than headlights. When approaching others, point your
light down or too the side, away from their eyes.
If you're continuing to pace through
the next section, you'll probably
need to refuel. If your runner has a crew, arrange to have them carry
your gear and food. Pack it neatly and compactly, and so that it's
Ask them to have it out for you at the next AS, if possible. However,
it's your responsibility to take care of yourself. Their priority
should be on the racer.
As a pacer, you can also use the AS
supplies. The AS will be stocked
with the typical ultra fare: water, Powerade, Power Gels, hot soup
(e.g., Ramen noodle, potato, chicken), fruit (e.g., bananas, oranges),
PB&J sandwiches, chips, pretzels, fig bars, brownies, etc. I'll
discuss how to be quick and efficient in the AS below.
Don't forget to take care of
yourself. Help your racer first, then be
prepared to take care of your own needs. You can always take some extra
time for yourself, then catch up to them on the trail. I'll talk about
dealing with crew and aid stations in the next part.
Stations (AS) TOP
A pacer can help save the runner a
lot of time at AS. A lot of middle
and back-of-the-pack runners say that a few minutes here and there
don't matter. I'm not sure why AS time is any less important to them
than it is to the leaders. All that AS time adds up. Even just 5 min in
each AS means almost an hour of not moving forward. Most of the leaders
won't spend more than 10-15 minutes in all the AS for the entire race.
If you're flirting with the cut-off times, 30 hours or the big buckle
(25), those AS minutes become even more important.
Crew and pacers should be ready to
react quickly to change. Many
runners make plans ahead of time, but things can change during the
race. In 2002, I had prepared detailed plans for my crew. However, a
bottle of bad Cytomax left me with an upset stomach only an hour into
the race. Both me and my crew had to quickly and repeatedly adjust our
and pacers have use walkie-talkies. In the last couple of years,
texting and tweeting have become more popular. However, even with
crowded channels, I still prefer radios. All you need is a quick
message; e.g., "Runner 264 is 10 min out from Twin Lakes." Texting at
night, on a rocky trail, is not any easier, or safer, than while
driving. And, the signal is weak or non-existent on large parts of the
course. In 2010, I remember reading dozens of tweets from runners
coming off Hope Pass, that were hours old by the time they got a signal
and were posted. The pacer will carry the
radio and call in when they are 5-10 minutes out. You can pick up a
2-pack of radios for $30-$50, and a 4-pack for not a lot more.
As you're coming into an AS as a
pacer, you should find out what the
runner wants (e.g., food, drink, clothing). Then, just before the AS,
you might want to run ahead and get the stuff ready. If you're using a
crew, find them, tell them what the runner wants,
then go back and help guide the runner to the crew. If the runner is
using drop bags, run ahead and get the bag from the AS crew, pull out
the gear they want, get the food they want, and have it ready for them
when they come into the AS. If you're changing pacers, pass on any
vital information (e.g., how the runner is feeling and what they want
on the trail) to the new pacer.
Most of the time, the runner is
better off continuing to move rather
than stopping and sitting at AS. Try to get them out of the AS and
moving as soon as possible. This is especially true late at night, when
it's cold. Your body generates heat when you're moving. When you're
tired, your body will stop generating heat when you stop, and you start
shivering. Shivering uses up a lot of
energy. And, it can take a lot of extra time to warm up enough to be
able to start moving again. I have seen way too many
runners come into Fish Hatchery at night feeling fine, sit down to eat,
start shivering within 30 seconds, then end up having to having to lay
in a warm sleeping bag for up to an hour. A runner can save time by
changing tops while on the move, instead of sitting. Focus your efforts
on the runner first. You can hang back to fill their bottles/bladder,
grab clothing form crew or drop bags, get what you need, then catch up
to them on the trail. The runner doesn't need to, and shouldn't wait
How do you know when you're getting
close to an AS? Read the
legs section above and the descriptions below.
Twin Lakes - After crossing the
river, you'll curve right and head
East. You'll see a round hill ahead on the left. The Twin Lakes lot is
about 100 yards past the hill. When I'm pacing, I'll often run ahead,
as I approach the hill.
Halfmoon (AS, no crew) - I haven't
been on this section since they changed the course in 2009.
Treeline (crew, no AS) - As you're
coming up the dirt road, at Pipeline (AS for the 100mi bike), the road
curves right, then you take an quck left, back to the WNW. It's ~1/2mi
more to Treeline. The road drops down, and then rises just before
Treeline. At night, you'll
probably see the lights and hear the noise from the crews before you
get there. Sometimes there's a volunteer taking numbers just before you
hit the crew area, and calling them out loudly
Fish Hatchery - 4 miles from
Treeline. You'll see it as you're running
up the road. You make a left and go ~50m up to the AS, and then back
out the same way as you're leaving.
Mayqueen - It's about 1/3 mi from
the end of the trail down the paved
road. There's usually someone there who radios ahead with your bib#, so
they can alert waiting crew. I usually run ahead when I hit the road.
Tabor boat ramp - It's about 5¼
mi from Mayqueen. There isn't a good advance point. You probably won't
see it until you are there.
Often a better place to crew (check
to make sure it's OK), on the
return, is at the end of the Turquoise Lake Trail, where it crosses the
road, just E of the dam. About 1/2
mile after the second boat ramp, you go up a short, steep hill to the
road. Crews should park in the turnout, across the road, a bit E of the
Turquoise trail, where the runners head down under the power line.
Please don't block the road or trail. Although it's not an official
crew station, race management is aware
that people crew there and condone it (at least before the sale in
2010). Check with the new race
6. Finding a
It's not too late to find a
runner/pacer, even on race day. There are several web sites that are
good for finding pacers. You can also find both pacers, and runners to
race day. I have done this several times, after my runner has dropped
out, or after I've finished pacing and wanted to do more.
Some of the good websites to find
On race day, if you're looking to
pace - this includes those of you who's runners
have dropped out - you can pick up someone to pace at the AS. Show up
at an AS ready to go. Make a point to look like you're ready to go -
running clothes, carry a pack, have your lights with
you. As you see runners coming in alone, ask them if they want/need a
pacer. Be and look eager, but don't pester. Let the AS crew know that
you are looking to pace. Sometimes a runner will ask the AS crew if
they know of any pacers. Announce your presence loudly and make
yourself very visible. A crew might know if their runner wants a pacer.
I've picked up runners to pace this way twice, at Fish Hatchery - once
by being ready to go when a runner came in asking if anyone wanted to
pace, and another when a runner's parents talked their son into having
me help him. Both times were great experiences for both of us.
If you're a runner and want a pacer,
announce it loudly as you enter an
AS. Let the AS crew know. They may know of someone who wants to pace.
Or, you may come across someone who just came to watch or cheer on a
friend, and becomes so enthused about the experience, they make a spur
of the moment decision to pace when asked. This happened with a friend
of mine. We were up there watching friends and crewing. She hadn't
planned on pacing. As we were getting ready to leave Winfield, she
suddenly decided it would be fun to pace. As we were driving out the
road (slowly), she started asking runners she saw heading back toward
the Hope Pass trail alone. After several tries, she found a taker. I
drove her up ahead to give her time to get ready, then she met the
runner and took her over the hill to Twin Lakes.
Your best bet is with runners in the
middle to back of the pack. Most
of the top runners already have pacers, although couple of them might
still be looking for a pacer. Don't bee too picky. Pacing runners of
offers different experience, and a chance to see the race from
different angles, but all can be very enjoyable and rewarding. I've
paced runners from the top 5 to back of the pack.
The best places to find a
runner/pacer are at Twin Lakes (TL) and Fish
Hatchery (FH), also called Outward Bound, on the return.
At TL, 60.5mi, the leader typically
comes through around 2:00pm. The
best time to find a runner/pacer is from ~6:00-9:15pm. You can still
find people until the cutoff,
9:45pm, but runners coming in much after 9:15 will have difficulty
making the later cut-offs. I think it's best to wait at the AS. Many of
the crew will be
in the parking lot across the street or along the dirt road. You might
want to announce your availability to crews there too.
At FH, 76.5mi, the leader typically
comes through around 5:00pm. The
best time to find a runner/pacer is from ~9:30pm, until the cutoff,
3:00am. The AS is the best place to hang out. You can keep warm and get
food while you are waiting.
Winfield, the turnaround, is also a
good place to find a runner/pacer.
The leader might come through around noon. The best time to
find a runner/pacer is from 2:00-5:00pm. Although the cutoff is 6:00pm,
most reaching Winfield after 5pm are unlikely to finish
the race, and after 5:30 unlikely to reach Twin Lakes before that
Mayqueen, 86.5mi, is also an option,
but is very late in the race. Most
runners have their pacers set by that time, or don't want to change
their routine. However, it can be a great experience to help a mid to
back of the pack runner through the final leg. The leader might come
through MQ by 7:00pm. The best time to find a runner/pacer is from
until the cutoff, 6:30am. Runners at the cut-off still have a decent
chance of finishing before the final 30hr cut-off, but it's not easy.
It's not too hard to get a ride to
an AS, or back to your car after the
race. Often, you can hitch a ride from town, near the start/finish, out
to one of the AS. You may find crew/friends in town after the start.
You can also make announcements at one of the restaurants in town,
where friends and other pacers will eat before heading out. I used to
list the likely restaurants here, but since so many go out of business
or change names, about any of the ones along Harrison (Main St) are
If you drive yourself out, it's
pretty easy to get a ride back after
the race. Ask people at the finish line Sunday morning, or at the
awards that noon. Getting to Winfield might be a bit of a problem. If
that's where you plan to start pacing, you might be better off leaving
your car at Twin Lakes or Fish Hatchery, and hitching a rideout from
there. If you are going to hitch a ride out, Get there
early enough so that most of the crews are still there as their runners
head out on Sat morning, 8:00-9:30am at FH, or
10:00am-1:00pm at Twin Lakes. Most crews are friendly and helpful. You
have to ask.