Guest blog written by the famous Hubby who crewed tirelessly for the Yellowstone Teton 50 mile race
After driving over 1000 miles to Yellowstone I thought that 50 miles would be a piece of cake. Hey, I wasn’t running. Yeah it was hot, but the limovan had A.C. If I got hungry I’d just stop at a gas station and grab a snack. It didn’t take long for me to find out that while Sarah was running 50 miles I would have my own adventure.
Ignorance led me to believe that I’d be pretty bored during the race. I was fully stocked with books, my phone, and other boredom busters as Sarah and the other racers took off in the morning. Truth be told I spent the first 5 miles taking pictures. Oh yeah, I grabbed a few of the other runner’s jackets as it proved to be abnormally hot.
By the time Sarah hit mile 10 I got to know a few of the other crews, many of whom were also crewing for the first time, and had cheered on a good number of the runners. I got a rare phone signal and called our kiddo who was cheering from back home.
At the next pull off I waited for Sarah. She asked me to pull ahead and make a PBJ for her. No sweat! I had this crewing thing down. I pulled over, left the hazards on for safety (course rule), and proceeded to KILL THE BATTERY!
I’m sure you can guess that breaking the car while crewing is worse than running out of water, pulling out the wrong shoes, or ANY other thing that can go wrong. If you can’t drive, you can’t crew! I gave Sarah’s gear to another crew and proceed to make things worse.
If you invert the positive and negative cables when jumping a car all kinds of things can go wrong. They smoked. We panicked. We pulled the cables. And the crew that was helping me left. It was the right thing to do. They tried to help. Because I was panicking I almost left two runners stranded.
A local guy gave me a jump and I was on my way. I was lucky that I didn’t kill the car. I did however kill my speedometer. I was completely clueless while driving the last 35 miles.
By the time I caught up to everyone it was HOT! I checked on every runner that I saw. I’d encourage any other crew to do the same. The person you’re going to crew is your MAIN responsibility, but you should do your best to help anyone on the course. Have a bit of extra water, food, electrolytes, etc.
Oh yeah, come prepared. Don’t rely on ANYTHING. I planned on eating at random gas stations or restaurants, but they didn’t show up until mile 40. By mile 40 your runner really needs you. They’re tired. It’s getting dark. And you have to trust your gut. Going into the race, we planned that I would drive five miles ahead. I veered from that as soon as I felt how hot it got and just drove 3 miles ahead. When Sarah didn’t need me, she just kept running.
I have to say the very best thing about my first adventure in crewing was having the opportunity to witness so many people push themselves further than I could ever imagine pushing myself. I got to see a father and son run a 50 miler together. I got to see the USATF Mountain Champion cruise by. I got to see my wife, who just 3 months earlier thought that she wouldn’t even be running, finish her 50 miler! I couldn’t have been prouder or more inspired by that lady than I was following her for those 50 miles.