Crew Tips & Directions
AR50 Crew Teams
By Pam Madigan
AR50 is prepared to take care of all our participants with Aid Stations stocked like the local market: everything from soups, sandwiches, fresh fruit, favorite sugary and salty snacks as well as Roctane Energy Drink and Roctane Gel. You won’t find better cheerleaders than our Aid Station Volunteers and our Medical Team could give the doctors of Grey’s Anatomy a run for their money!
All that said, ultra runners really like a little extra TLC that can only come from friends and family. That’s where Crew Teams come in to play. If you have agreed to be part of a Crew you are in for a great time! Here are some tips and pointers to make your crew experience as enjoyable as a gig like this could possibly be...
- Know where you are going. This is probably the most important tip. Bring printed copies of maps and driving directions. Don’t expect to be able to pull up details on your smart phone – coverage can and most likely will be spotty in the hills. And then, be sure to actually read the directions before the event so you know where you are headed. Missing your runner because you were lost sucks.
- Know your runner. Part 1. Your runner will most likely have given you a bag or box or carload of stuff that they want at each station they can see you at. You’ll be bringing them things like their favorite drink mix, the special bar or sandwich or snack they like, a change of shoes and socks, their lucky headband that they wear at only miles 24 to 40, etc. You are basically playing “Mom” to this adult who is running 50 miles for the fun of it. They will have a plan and if you stick to it, they should be happy all day and then so will you!
- Know your runner Part 2. When they come into an aid station does your friend want you to tell them a joke? Be quiet and keep to business at hand? Yell at them about how slow they are and demand they move their ass? It is critical for everyone involved to know what’s expected so that you don’t get your head bit off when you give them a big “Superstar” cheer. Be sure to have this conversation with your runner BEFORE you commit to crewing.
- Know what your runner might need even if they don’t. Every crew needs a Tool Box. Think of this as a luxury first aid kit filled with more than band aids and aspirin. If this is your runner’s first 50 you will probably want a pretty decent sized Tool Box. (Get yourself a rubber made type tote, preferably with a handle on the lid or sides and fill it with essentials:
- Band aids
- Wet Wipes
- Sport beans, Gels, powdered electrolyte (all in flavors and brands that your runner is used to and likes. I also might throw in a couple of other flavors in case they get tired of the usual...)
- Crackers, pretzels or other salty snack that doesn’t need refrigeration
- Salt tabs
- Pain killers
- Jolly ranchers or other hard candy for a sugar kick
- Ginger bites for upset stomach
- A massage stick of sorts
- Extra batteries for headlamps
- Extra stuff that your runner hasn’t already packed for themselves.
- Know yourself and predict your own needs. You are out there for a long time and other than the other crew members you’ll meet, no one cares how cold, hot, hungry, thirsty or tired you are. You are your only hope for survival so pack accordingly:
- Layers of clothes for yourself
- Hat, gloves, jacket, sunglasses
- a camp or lawn chair,
- a heavy blanket or sleeping bag,
- a headlamp for yourself
- a clipboard, pen and something to time the runner splits between aid stations.
- your phone charger and your runners’ phone/mp3 charger
- money for a pit stop in Folsom, Granite Bay or Auburn
- a trash bag for your trash as the day and early evening progress. You are responsible for hauling out your and your runners’ trash.
- a cooler that is pretty much filled with stuff for the crew. It can be as big as you think you need – you will most likely leave it in your car and just take what you need as you go along. Fill it with fruit, veggies, protein – things to keep you going. I usually have a couple of energy drinks for later day, but then, I am an addict...
- consider bringing a laptop or other device to keep yourself pre-occupied so you don’t pace around in circles at the aid station waiting for your runner.
- Know how to kill time. Since you will be out there for a while you can only think and talk about the race for so long. You will want some diversions while waiting for your runner to cruise in. Charge your mp3. Bring magazines or a book. Start a Texas Hold’em or Rummy tournament with your co-crewers.
- Know the AR50 Aid Station “etiquette”.
- The food and drinks are for THE RUNNERS. Please do not ask a volunteer if you can have part of a peanut butter sandwich or a cup of soup. It puts that volunteer in a tough position – remember these are super kind awesome people and they only want to make everyone happy. But, resources just don’t allow for everyone to nosh on the goodies. Thanks. When you do arrive at an Aid Station however, send 1 person from your crew to quickly assess the Aid Station set up and offerings. Your runner will come in from the trail with a craving of some sort and if you know what’s available you can help them out.
- If you haul it in, haul it out. Our trails are what make what we do so amazing. Pristine forests, crystal lakes, clear creeks and untouched fields and meadows are what draw the trail runner to do what they do. It is your job as Crew to help keep it that way. Please take all trash, discarded clothes, empty water bottles, etc with you.
- Know where your sense of humor is and bring it. Ultra runners say and do the most insane things and you are along for the ride. Yes, if she wants you to take off her shoes and help her pull her mangled toenail off so that she can keep going, just sigh and send her to medical but know this runner is not stopping. And when he comes in irritated with you that its so hot or cold (or perfect) at Mile 25, know he will come in to Mile 40 crying and saying you are the best friend, mother, father, lover a runner could have. Just give them a big hug and tell them to keep on truckin’. And when they tell you they want to quit tell them they can at the next Aid Station, and the next, and the next... You get the picture.
- Know how important you are. Running 50 miles takes more than training and determination. It takes courage and strength and guts and sheer will. Crew Teams give all of these to their runner. Knowing that you are waiting for them around the next bend or up the next hill or canyon gives your runner the motivation to keep going until they see you. Even if they are happy and singing or grumpy or quiet when they get to you, they are glad you are there for them! Have Fun!
- Know the acronym: CREW – Cranky Runner, Endless Waiting. We’re just saying...