Monday, July 9, 2012

The Shirt off My Back...and Ultrarunning

For some odd reason, today I thought of some running gear that I gave away a couple years ago at the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run. I ran this race in 2010, and had the race of my life, clocking a 22:35, placing 56 of 133 finishers (yay, me!).

So I have some very fond memories of this race.  The format is eight 12.5 loops, so you pass the start/finish line every loop.  For me, this was not as psychologically difficult as one might think it would be.  Actually, I think the multi-loop format was easier on me mentally--I got to know the course, got more and more familiar with it each pass, knowing what to expect, etc.

As I was getting ready in my cabin before the race, one of my cabin mates swore and said he'd forgotten to pack gloves.  Now it was in the upper 30s as I recall, definitely glove weather.  I always overpack, so I tossed him a spare pair and told him he could get them back to me after the race when we were packing up.  As it turned out, I forget whether he or I finished first, but for whatever reason our paths did not cross afterwards, so my gloves went home with him.

After I finished and was collecting my drop bags, I saw a young guy--mid 20s--who still had another loop to go.  He was inside the large race HQ building, trying to gather his will and his gear to run the last 12.5 miles.  He was cold and was looking for his tights.  I don't recall if he didn't pack them intentionally, or forgot them.  Regardless, he needed a pair, and I had a spare unused pair in my bag. 

So I handed them over to him and told him good luck.  He asked how he'd get them back to me; given the situation, I knew it'd be tough to delay him further right then to exchange contact info, so I just told him it was no big deal, just keep the tights.

So a couple of my running things wound up elsewhere.  I hope they served well and continue to be part of a runner's gear, wherever they are.  The point of the story is not that I was a nice guy (although that's true!).  Rather, it's the spirit of camraderie that pervades this sport.  I have no doubt that if I were short some item, somebody there would have fixed me up.  It's just the nature of Ultrarunners.


1 comment:

  1. Love it, man! You've nailed the spirit exactly :)