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Bishop Ultra Marathon - May 2012

Our club was responsible for the aid station called "McGee Creek" at an elevation of 7900 ft. There were approximately 260 runners registered and they started from Mill Pond at 6 a.m. on Sat. morning 5/19. Our preparation started on Thur. 5/17 when Mike Johnston and Greg Weirick filled ice chests at Manor Market. On Fri. Mike, John McVicker and Greg packed up a truck load of supplies for our station (food, water containers, table, awning etc.). Fri. evening the advance crew (Sherrie, DeEtte and Mike) headed for Buttermilk to camp for the night and get an early start on the set up. About 7:30 Sat. morning the remaining crew members arrived: Kurt, John and Maureen, Robin and Elliot Hastie, and Greg. Also, the Ham radio operators for our station were two more club members, Jim Nelligan and Phil Hartz. At this point the proposed aid station became either a circus, a Chinese fire drill, or a group of four wheel drive enthusiast trying to set up an aid station for marathon runners. After much confusion, direction and misdirection we had assemble something that looked like it might resemble an aid station. Our theme of patriotism was very apparent with all the decorations and flags (thank you Sherrie). About 8:15 the first runner arrived and we were ready!

Eager to be of assistance we tried to help we tried to help with anything we could (what do we know about running a marathon?-nothing). Whenever they asked any question, such as "where is my turn around point", we quickly supplied them with three or more separate and different answers. They could select any answer they wanted, or wait five minutes while we tried to figure out which response was correct. None of them waited. We finally determined that in fact there were several possible correct answers. We had three different groups of runners going through our station, 50 kilometer (about 30 miles), 50 mile (about 80 kilometers) and 100 kilometers (about 60 miles).. We also had some runners on their way back down the course while others were coming up. We realized that we had to know which event they were participating in, and which direction they were going, to properly answer their questions.

About 6 p.m. the last runner (walker) passed through and we were packing up. We were tired but hopefully did not look as bad the last runner. We drove down to the finish line at Mill Pond and this turned out to be a mistake. Two of the runners that Mike has given wrong answers to were waiting for him. He had told one runner that it was all down hill back to the finish line (how was he to know that it wasn't), and he had told the other runner that the "whooping" noise she had heard on the trail was probably a mountain lion (apparently it was some kind of a bird). Mike quickly justified his lies by explaining that he was a retired real estate agent and this seemed to appease the young ladies.

You have to wonder about somebody that will run (or walk) sixty miles and do this for 18 hours. But then, you have wonder about somebody that thinks it is fun to go out into the middle of no-place and try to get 4000 pounds of metal and rubber stuck in some mud and rocks. What had started as a hectic day turned out to be a lot of fun, largely because of the great people in our club! Greg is awarded the wrench for starting the day without one of our crew members.

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