It has become something of a tradition for me to kick off the racing season at the beautiful, crowded, and fast Way Too Cook 50K. This year was much the same, except that I wasn't racing. I opted to forgo the start of last week's race, and instead spent my day cheering friends and pouring water at the Highway 49 Aid Station.
It was perhaps even more abundant with inspiration that my years spent there as a runner.
As usual, I greeted many friends in the morning chill. Without exception, everyone wore a smile of pre-race excitement.
|Jenelle, Jamie, and Sarah ready for the fast trails of Cool.|
|Jill and John Trent heading to the start.|
After the start, I found a beautiful spot in the trail about a half mile before the first aid station. I planted myself there, took photos, and cheered for the runners. They still looked fresh and smiley.
|Women's winner Meghan Arbogast, cruising comfortably in second place at this point.|
|Angela enjoys the dirt and sunshine of the foothills.|
By the time the last runner came through, it was time for me to head to the aid station at Highway 49 to help. This is the last aid station on the course, and I usually think of it as kind of unnecessary when I'm racing. With only 1.4 miles to go in the race, there never seems to be much reason to stop.
It was gratifying, however, to see that many people did not feel that same way. So many runners were grateful for the chance to pause, slam a coke, and grab a gel on their way through. As the day progressed and got warmer, more and more runners needed their bottles filled. Our aid station was open from 11:00 to 4:00, and I spent most of that time filling water bottles and hydration packs.
Not only did this give me a chance to greet every runner, but I got to see all my friends come through. The best part about working this aid station is that when you tell people they only have 1.4 miles left, they are incredibly happy. I received two different declarations of love from runners upon hearing this news.
|Ready for aid station hospitality!|
|Max King rounds the bend on his way to a new course record.|
Without a doubt, a day well spent. Next year I hope to be joining my friends on the starting line, but I am pretty stoked about just being part of the action at Cool this year. I love this race.
|The master of good mojo, Greg spreads the love all over the course.|