Tuesday, June 05, 2007

2007 Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run

For several years now, I've been helping out at various aid stations for a couple of Ultra Marathons put on by John Bozung. Last Saturday, for the third year, I went to Windy Pass with a group of Aid Station people as their communications person. This year, I wasn't alone. There was another radio person to help this time which was a huge help! I actually had some time while there at the station to do something other than track in and out times of all the runners (201 passed through our station this year).

Since it was a low water year and the spring where we normally collect water for the runners was running very slowly, we filtered about 15-20 gallons of water with a hand pump so we would have enough for everyone. The other 30 gallons or so were collected directly from the pipe (installed by the Forest Service?) leading from the spring. The water from the spring runs into a trough which did a good job of collecting the water, it just had some pretty nasty looking stuff in it. Without pumping, we would have run out early, so I'm glad I brought my water filter with me (an MSR WaterWorks). The Katadyne Backcountry filter the other people had there was pretty well clogged (and useless) after they had pumped 3-5 gallons. They told me that it was new when they brought it up for this trip (glad I didn't buy that one!). The water itself looked clear (it was just sitting there in the trough - not zipping down a muddy stream or anything), but I had to clean my filter after every 2-3 liters to keep it running fast, so there must have been a lot of stuff suspended in it.

The runners had completed 40 miles when they got to our station and had just climbed 2000 feet up to us (at about 9000 feet) from the last aid station on a hot south facing slope. They were pretty tired. One guy at the end had the worst time of it. The course sweeper stayed with him until he made it to us, and for about 30 minutes alternated between laying down and leaning over a tree puking. He finally was able to drink a little of my still-frozen Powerade that I had stashed and some of an electrolyte drink called Emergency (reference needed) from some of the other aid station people. Although the Utah County Search and Rescue team was already busy on another couple of calls, they did send a team to assist us in case there was a problem. We knew we needed to either get him moving and have the SAR team help us with him if he couldn't make it or just call a helicopter to evacuate him before it got dark. He started feeling a little better and decided to try to get down on his own.

Here he is leaving the aid station. My red shirt looks absolutely huge on him but he sure looks a lot better than he did when he arrived.

After descending some and drinking more of the electrolyte drink, his condition improve quickly and soon he was running down the mountain ahead of the sweep. I believe he even finished the race.

Way to go Phil!

It was a lot of fun and between myself and another aid station person, we got a lot of pictures of the runners. I don't know if we got everyone, but we came close. I hope to be back up there for the Kat'cina Mosa 100K this August.

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