Jenny and I are working the Rucky Chucky (mile 78) aid station at the Western States 100 mile run this weekend. I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited about having a (oh-so-small) part in something so big. Here's a description of the event (taken from www.mile78.com):
The Western States Endurance Run is one of the oldest ultra trail events in the world and certainly one of the most challenging.
The Run is conducted along the Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn.
Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.
Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the trail, the Western States Endurance Run differs substantially from other organized runs. Adequate mental and physical preparation are of utmost importance to each runner, for the mountains, although beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and unforgiving to the ill-prepared.
The Race begins at 5:00 am on Saturday of the last weekend in June at the west end of Squaw Valley. Runners must reach the finish line no later than 11:00 am the following day in order to be eligible for an award.
Approximately 1,300 dedicated volunteers help out at each Western States Endurance Run. They are truly the life-blood of the Run and will do everything possible to make your day a success. Many spend more hours out on the trail than do the runners themselves.
In preparation for the event, I'm praying for the runners (the temperature on Saturday is supposed to reach 104 - 106 degrees!) and re-reading Ultra-Marathon Man, a fantastic read for anyone who runs!