This years Wasatch was unique in so many ways yet despite the fact I didn't run it, I feel so much closer to it. It started with the need to get my volunteer work for the Bear 100. I sent an email to the Wasatch race directors and found out that they needed help at the Sessions Lift Off aid station at mile 28.3. I contacted Kent Cravens the aid captain and we were off on quite the off road bumpy journey.
The hype pre-race was huge but when the first runner was spotted in the distance my heart rate sky rocketed. Geoff had made an early move and had several minutes on Meltzer. As I watched them run it shocked me how effortless they ran. The quickness wasn't blatant but they were so relaxed and smooth. It seemed so natural. Frankly I was shocked. The shock only furthered throughout the day as I kept hearing splits and the eventual finishing times! Congrats to those two for going way under record pace while pushing the human body and mind. Incredible. Nearly as impressive were Betsy and Mandy showing us men what true competition and toughness are.
This was only the start for my day as nearly 250 more runners needed attention. I had a blast filling water bottles and shouting hello's to all the runners. When everyone was through Sessions I had nothing to do and tons of extra food so I decided to check out the race at Millcreek. I didn't get there in time to see the leaders but the aid station seemed to need my help and appreciated the extra food. It was great helping out and seeing nearly everyone having great races...Erik, Dave, Peter, Christian, Chad, Phil, Scott K, Roger, Matt, Tom, Davy, Scott M (who ended up wearing my arm warmers from Millcreek to the finish because he somehow didn't pack anything but a light jacket!), and especially friend/student Matt Galland who I would get to pace from Brighton to the finish. Running around getting soup, convincing Neal Gormand that we would need at least arm warmers before Brighton, filling water bottles, taping Chucks feet, grabbing drop bags, etc was more fun then I could have possibly imagined!
Soon I headed off to grab some real food and meet Matt at Brighton. After 14 hours of aid station work I was tired so I took a quick 45 minute nap but it didn't last as I was wired from watching the race all day. So I went in to see most of the above mentioned guys a 3rd time before starting my pacing duties. Matt arrived at 1am and we didn't mess around. After only 10 minutes we were off in good spirits. Matt had taken care of himself all day so I pushed him. Needless to say we passed 14-15 runners for a 27 hr 14 min finish. Matt ran super strong that last 25 and I personally loved every second of it having drawn so much closer to the race.
Congrats to all Wasatch runners and I will hopefully get my name drawn as one of the lucky few to toe the line in 2010. For now the excitement is turning to the Bear 100 as I taper and prepare. Matt's pace was perfect preparation as my goal time is sub-27 hours. Lot's of excitement and anticipation in the Beckstead household. It's my turn next week.