|Volunteering w Dev. C at Finish Line OC Marathon|
This morning a glanced at my phone and noticed a friend request from the legendary Stan Jensen. Stan founded and still maintains one of the oldest and informative websites for ultra runners, www.run100s.com. The request was to join the Grand Slam of Ultra Running 2014 Facebook group. I started reading – or rather devouring - Stan’s site many years ago, well before running my first ultra. The invitation got my attention – shit, this Grand Slam thing is a big deal.
It’s taken several months, and now I’m officially qualified to run in the Grand Slam. The final qualification coming after submitting my $80 check to the director and seeing his email that my application was received. Wow. Now, as they say, the fun begins.
I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve decided to attempt the Grand Slam without any crew or pacers. It just seems like the right thing to do. Maybe I’m being a little naive, but aren’t the hundreds of volunteers out there the real crew for us runners? I don’t know how this will play out, but I’m determined. And excited. And a little nervous, but in good way. I need it to be this way. To rely less on others. And more on myself.
It was interesting to see the Vermont 100 just added a “solo” classification just in time for my GS. It allows no pacers and no crew. It’s also interesting that the European races generally are all solo races with no pacers permitted and crew highly discouraged. I got my first taste of this at UTMB in 2012, and came away with mixed feelings. Not so much because of how it impacted me as a runner, but more because of the impact it had on my family, who came a long way to see me run. The race officials were not accommodating to say the least.
I’ve come to learn in the months leading up to the GS that UTMB was a bit of a harbinger. Getting family, crew and pacers to four separate events taking place four different weekends throughout the summer some thousands of miles apart is, well, a bit daunting. And I need to take every ‘daunt’ I can out of the GS which is already daunting to begin with.