Ultra Crew



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 gu runner expects to use
  11. How much electrolyte stuff to put in water
  12. Multiple crew members: who is assigned to what?
  13. 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
  14. When continuing is not worth the damage or risk
  15. Pacers
  16. Final decision maker among the crew if there is a disagreement
  17. Is there cell phone service

Things to Know about Ultra marathon runners and races:

  1. Runners mood is likely to go up and down
  2. Runner may not be thinking totally clear (Go to mental status check)
  3. Runner will be in pain eventually (don’t ask how they feel)
  4. It hurts more to stop and start than to keep moving (don’t put a chair out)
  5. Where to get extra supplies if needed close to the course

Things to keep to yourself and laugh about later:

  1. Runner’s disheveled appearance
  2. Runner minor disorientation
  3. Grumpy runner
  4. Minor Stupid runner
  5. It’s cold out
  6. It’s hot out
  7. The crew is arguing
  8. The crew is having problems
  9. Runner is slowing down (unless it is going to result in being pulled for not meeting cut off)
  10. Don’t ask how my runner is feeling.

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. Cold: 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


  1. Was the runner warm when running?
  2. Keep runner moving catch them in a mile to resupply if necessary
  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


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


Hot/swelling joints

  1. Some people just swell up but . . .
  2. S-Caps
  3. Visor
  4. Ice under hat
  5. Cool water dumped over head
  6. Cool towel around neck
  7. Slow down
  8. Frozen drink
  9. Before you DNF: Shade for 20-30 minutes

Always pack

  1. Batteries for lights
  2. Back up light
  3. Extra hair ties
  4. Extra gu
  5. Extra electrolyte drink mix
  6. S-caps
  7. Stomach medication
  8. Extra shoes
  9. Extra socks
  10. Foot care kit
  11. Reflective gear
  12. blanket


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
  4. Have exchange hydration system ready and packed including
    1. Gu
    2. S-caps
    3. Stomach meds
    4. Small blister kit


What to do when my runner comes in:

  1. Go out to meet my runner, keep ‘em moving.
  2. Swap runners hydration device and carried supplies
  3. Visually assess runner
  4. Mental status check
  5. Let my runner know when I will see them next (see you in five miles)
  6. Send them out, ASAP

What to do when my runner leaves:

  1. Go through the pack
    1. Is my runner eating
    2. Is my runner using S-caps
    3. Is my runner drinking enough
    4. Are there still stomach meds
    5. Are there still blister kit stuff
  2. Use this information to help my runner at the next aid station
    1. You used your blister stuff, are your feet okay?
    2. You used your Pepto-Bismol, how’s your stomach?
  3. Get to the next meeting point
  4. Have fun, enjoy the scenery
  5. Laugh at my runner
  6. 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 duct 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)
      3. No protein
      4. Water
  Dehydration Heat stroke Heat exhaustion Hypoatremia
Symptoms Thirst

Dry mouth

No sweat (clamy)



Less urine

Temp 105

Throbbing head

No sweat

Red hot dry skin

Muscle weakness



Rapid/shallow breathing

Rapid heartbeat


Disorientation staggering




Apple juice urine





Muscle cramps


Pale skin

Profuse sweating

Rapid heartbeat

Craving salt






Loss of appetite

Muscle spasms or cramps

Muscle weakness




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


Salty food or S-caps

No water

Take to hospital if no improvement


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