Well I just returned from Bandera, TX and volunteering at the Bandera 25K/50K/100K. I’m quite tired yet quite satisfied
On last Friday I took 1/2 day off and left home about 2:30 PM. About 137 miles of driving and a few hours later I arrived at the Hill Country State Natural Area
. I found the CrossRoads aid station area where I’d be working, but no one was here. So I drove about 1.5 mile further to the registration area. There I learned that dinner would be in about 1 hour. So back to the aid station and set up my borrowed tent before it got dark. I did an OK job setting it up, not great, just OK.
Then it was back to registration for a spaghetti dinner where I met a few people including Dan, the head of the CrossRoads aid station. After dinner at 6:45 PM I returned to the aid station area, but now it was dark. So I climbed into my tent, got ready for bed and read a book until I was tired. Over the night it began to rain. It drizzled on and off all night. However at about 3:45 AM I woke with water dripping into the tent. Ugh. I can’t handle a wet bed. So I took all my things out of the tent, packed them up, put them into the car, went to the porta-pottie, and went to sleep in the car. At 6:30 AM Dan work me up by tapping on the car window. The rain had mostly stopped, but everything was damp, yes everything. The temperature was between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So after getting up I met many of the other volunteers and I helped prepare the aid station. The race started at 7:30 AM several miles away
The lefthand tent was actually two aid stations. The back was CrossRoads-In and the front was CrossRoads-Out. Between the two is about a 5 mile inner loop. The righthand tent was for runner’s drop bags. At about 9 AM the first 25K runners arrived. I helped fill the bottles with water, Gatorade or Heed and provided cups of this and sodas. Throughout the day various 25K, 50K, and 100K runners arrived and I did whatever Dan told me to do. A few brief showers occurred during the day. The mud and muck was always present. Our shoes were caked with it. Everything was damp or wet. Then about 5 PM the weather suddenly changed. The temperature dropped 30 degrees down to 40 degrees. We could see our breath. Suddenly the runner’s requests changed from water to cool down to hot food to warm up. They started using their drop bags to add clothes, and change socks. This continued throughout the night. Different runners would arrive in various levels of pain, exhaustion, and awareness. Some stopped for moments, others stayed many minutes, most continued on and a few DNF’ed right there. We cheered them all into the station. We helped where we could. Finally at about 1:30 AM the last 100K runner came through and we were done. Note: that runner still had 10 miles to reach 100K (about 62 miles). During the day I had fixed up my tent and this time hopefully it would not leak, but early in the morning I was woken by dripping noises. At about that time Dan told me that it was time to wake up.
It was still wet and quite cold. For the next few hours I helped pack up – this time with a much smaller team of six. By the time I was finally released by Dan I was soaking wet and muddy. So I changed all my clothes and headed home. It was fun. The sense of community at the aid station was great because we had to work together for the whole weekend. And Dan was great to work for. I’d do it again.