I had such a great time pacing and crewing at HURT 100 this year!
First of all, it is a super well run event. The volunteers are great. The aid stations are great. The course is...uh, great the first 2 times through...
I also got to crew and pace two fantastic runners, which always makes the job easier.
Helping James crew Candice was an adventure (as things with her always are!). She rolled her ankle very early in the race and was frequently running out of water between aid stations. I could see the mental fatigue when she came in after nearly 40 miles of running with a compromised ankle. After several of us convinced her to get it taped she headed out. We saw her 7 miles later and the transformation was incredible. She went on to run a stellar last half. I greatly enjoyed running through the dark hours with her from mile 60-80. Near the top we ran through bamboo forest which clattered noisily at every breath of wind. Later we probably embarrassed other runners as we loudly "girl talked" our way through the miles. At the Nature Center I handed her safely off to James for her last lap and headed for Paradise to pace Kevin.
I was very excited to crew Kevin throughout the day and watch as he improved on his previous time at the event, despite going in (in his words) "really under-trained." He let me dye his hair and beard with Kool Aid the night before and put his hair up in pig tails. Many people remembered him as the "beads in your beard" guy from the year before. I imagine next year everyone will call him "pig tail man." I personally think the pig tails provided lift and helped him float over all those roots ;)
It was also a great joy to hop in with him at Paradise at 5:45 in the morning and pace his last 13 miles. I like to think I pulled him up some of those hills...although he was in such great shape I'm sure he didn't really need my help. Seeing the course in the daylight was beautiful. We even stopped on a ridge at the top of 5 Minute Hill and watched the sunrise over it. Coming into the finish line with him as he completed his second top 10 finish at this incredibly challenging event was a great moment for me.
Candice came in not long after, finishing in the top 15 OA and placing 3rd among women.
I love the HURT experience I had and I am going to put in for it again for next year. Hopefully this time I will get in!