The Ultra Marathon Crew

don't panic

Since I am heading into another hundred, I thought I would dedicate this week to helping your crew and pacers be prepared for the one hundred mile experience. I believe crews are essential and a gift to their runner. This is my guide fro my ultra crew and pacers.

THE ULTRA MARATHON CREW

By Nicole Lowe, Dark Voodoo Princess

Goal of the Ultra marathon Crew:

  1. Safety for myself and my runner
  2. Keep my runner moving toward the finish as quickly as possible
  3. Make decisions for my runner during later stages of the race
  4. Allow runner to DNF ONLY if serious injury is highly likely or death may result

Understand the Crew Experience

  1. You will be deprived of sleep
  2. You will be stuck in a car
  3. You will be tending to a possibly grumpy runner
  4. You will be bored
  5. You could be hot, cold, hungry
  6. Rushing from aid station to aid station
  7. You could be suddenly asked to pace: do you have running shoes and shorts?
  8. You get to see a new place
  9. You get to hang out in the outdoors and enjoy nature
  10. You get to meet new people
  11. Be prepared to help your runner: buckle, tie, zip, apply glide, and dress and undress.
  12. Handling dirty sweaty smelly clothing
  13. Cheer on other runners
  14. Support other runners who are in need of help
  15. Watch the amazing determination of human endurance

Things to discuss pre-race:

  1. Start and finish time
  2. Course/terrain/elevation/weather
  3. Time cut offs for the race
  4. Where meeting
  5. What will runner likely need at each meeting
  6. How things are packed and labeled
  7. What is packed (if need it early or later in race)
  8. Expected pace of my runner
  9. Injuries likely to flare up and how to deal with them
  10. How much electrolyte stuff to put in water
  11. What do we do if we miss each other at a meeting
    1. Check with aid station crew to see if runner came in
    2. Meet at next spot
  12. Is there cell phone service

Things to Know about Ultra marathon runners and races:

  1. Runners mood will to go up and down
  2. Runner may not be thinking totally clear
  3. Runner will be in pain eventually
  4. Stomach issues and mild dehydration are inevitable
  5. It hurts more to stop and start than to keep moving (ten minutes is goal in aid station unless we are changing or taking care of something like blisters)
  6. Where to get extra supplies if needed close to the course

Questions to ask yourself to help your runner:

  1. Have I planned for myself?
    1. Clothing
    2. Gloves/hat
    3. Food
    4. Water
    5. Entertainment
    6. Light
    7. Reflective gear
  2. How far until I meet up with my runner again?
  3. What is the temp outside, how is that going to impact my runner?
  4. What is the weather, how is that going to impact my runner?
  5. When is it going to get dark?
  6. When is it going to get light?
  7. What is in my runners gear?
  8. Did my runner go to the bathroom?

Visual Assessment of Runner:

  1. Limping
  2. Swollen hands
  3. Wet anywhere
  4. Shoes? Dry, muddy
  5. Light at night
  6. Reflective gear if on the road
  7. Sun burnt
  8. Walking or running

Mental Status check

  1. Confused or Disoriented
    1. Just tired
    2. Sugar low
    3. Electrolytes low: swollen hands, sloshing stomach,
    4. hypothermia: shivering uncontrollably, blue lips or fingers, mumbling, coordination issues
    5. dehydrated: pinch back of hand spring back slow or tents

 

Possible Questions for runner:

  1. Blisters or hot spots
  2. Too hot?
  3. Too cold?
  4. Stomach issues
    1. Pepto-Bismol for diarrhea
    2. Tums for stomach acid
    3. Ginger or pepto-bismol for nausea
  5. What do you want at the next aid station?

Cold/shivering:

  1. Was the runner warm when running?
  2. Keep runner moving
  3. Multiple layers
  4. Change clothing
  5. Wind proof outer layer
  6. Hand warmers
  7. Before you DNF: Out of elements for twenty-thirty minutes and all new clothing

Rain/snow:

  1. Sunglasses and hat
  2. Poncho
  3. Change clothes
  4. Rain proof /resistant outer layer
  5. base layer

 

Hot/swelling joints

  1. Some people just swell up but . . .
  2. S-Caps
  3. Visor
  4. Ice under hat
  5. Dunk shirt in cool water
  6. Slow down
  7. Frozen drink
  8. Before you DNF: Shade for 20-30 minutes

Before my runner comes in:

  1. Check with aid station crew about any updates or changes in race.
  2. Have gear ready my runner decided they will need at this stop
  3. Set out any gear my runner may need so I can get them quickly

 

What to do when my runner comes in:

  1. Let my runner know when I will see them next (see you in five miles)
  2. Send them out, ASAP
  3. Ask what runner will want at next aid

What to do when my runner leaves:

  1. Get to the next meeting point
  2. Stay warm
  3. Eat
  4. Sleep
  5. Have fun, enjoy the scenery
  6. Laugh at my runner
  7. Meet other crews, watch movies, read books, and take pictures.

What do I do if my Runner has/is….

  1. Vomiting/nausea
    1. Keep hydrating
    2. Suggest walking
    3. Give anti-nausea meds
    4. How hot is my runner?
  2. Diarrhea
    1. Keep hydrating
    2. Baby wipes
    3. Glide
    4. New shorts
    5. Anti-diarrhea meds
    6. Suggest walking
  3. Blisters
    1. Pop blisters with a clean pin
    2. Clean area with alcohol wipe
    3. Place second skin over blister if roofless
    4. Tape with elastiskin or KT tape
    5. May need mole skin around blister to top off that
    6. Double socks
    7. Dry socks
  4. Cramps
    1. Muscle
      1. Electrolytes
      2. Stretch slow
    2. Stomach
      1. Walk
      2. Stretch body (arms up)
  • No protein
  1. Water and electrolytes

Notes for Pacers specifically

  1. Do Nothing Fatal
  2. take care of your own needs
  3. If you fall behind, I’ll have to leave you
  4. Don’t carry anything for the runner, you can share water if needed
  5. Talk and tell stories to runner although runner may not respond with more than a grunt
  6. Keep an eye on food and water intake
  7. If the runner is going slow put them in front and prod them along
  8. Don’t let the runner crawl into a cave to sleep
  9. Be positive and don’t complain
  10. Don’t agree with complaining runner
  11. I don’t know what happened to Number 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Dehydration Heat stroke Heat exhaustion Hypoatremia
Symptoms Thirst

Dry mouth

No sweat (clammy)

Lightheaded

Weakness

Less urine

Temp 105

Throbbing head

No sweat

Red hot dry skin

Muscle weakness

Cramps

Nausea/vomiting

Rapid/shallow breathing

Rapid heartbeat

Confusion

Disorientation staggering

Seizures

unconsciousness

Confusion

Apple juice urine

Dizziness

Fainting

Fatigue

Headache

Muscle cramps

Nausea

Pale skin

Profuse sweating

Rapid heartbeat

Craving salt

Confusion

Convulsions

Fatigue

Headache

Irritability

Loss of appetite

Muscle spasms or cramps

Muscle weakness

Nausea

Restlessness

vomiting

treatment Get out of the sun

Walk or stop

Drink water

Get out of the sun

Place ice on neck and groin

Get in cold water

Take to hospital if no improvement

Get out of the sun

Place ice on neck and groin

Get in cold water

Walk or stop

Electrolytes

Salty food or S-caps

No water

Take to hospital if no improvement

 

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