A tribute to aid station personel.

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22/03/2012 at 12:16

From my own observations there has been quite a change in the types of people participating in ultras since my first in 2004.  Then there were quite a few older slower fatter ones at the back to keep this slow old waddler company, but now the entrants are much younger, fitter and faster.  I think the increasing popularity has probably meant that there is now a much harder edge to the events.  I used to get an acknowledgement from the majority as they swept past me, but now it is about 50/50 - not that I expect it. but it's nice when it happens.  It could be that some people are so centred on getting their desired result that they don't consider the support they are getting from the marshals, although this is no excuse for ignorant behaviour.

I, myself am pathetically grateful to them, especially as I am usually the last, or nearly, to go through  the CPs and I really appreciate them still being there for me.  I am even more pathetically grateful if they give me beer!! 

22/03/2012 at 13:14

There's a random example.  Which just happened to be one I looked at a few weeks ago.

 Average age 45, and there are twice as many over-50s doing it than there are under-30s.

The #1 ranked entrance, based on past results through that system, did a 100k race in 4:24.  Being generous, that gives her a 3:30 marathon time.  Whoooosh!  Hardly.


Definitely not-quite runners, rather than ultra runners!

22/03/2012 at 13:14
entrance?  entrant
22/03/2012 at 13:42

ummm 100k in 4hr 24 is pretty damm quick in my books do you have your figures wrong somewhere??????

22/03/2012 at 13:45
Ahhh just checked the link I do belive you meant 50K which I agree is not quick.... I have been in 50k races where the winning time was close to the 3hr mark....
22/03/2012 at 13:49

err - good spot.  yeah she did 50km in 4:24. 

i'm not only old, fat and slow, i also have some kind of number dyslexia too!

22/03/2012 at 13:50

My experience would be that marathon time is rarely a good indicator of ultra time and vice versa. 

I have finished ultras ahead of people who could knock the better part of an hour off my marathon time. 

I think that ultra runners are better athletes comparing like for like, and represent a higher quality field. 

On the other hand, I do think that there could and should be a lot more people running ultras than there are in thge U.K.   

22/03/2012 at 14:00

I think we are probably in danger of going a little of subject here, although an interesting debate ... looking at that table it would seem there are almost equal entrants of the 30-39 and 40-49 age range (give or take 5), not necessarily a reflection of people who are reduced to dawdling around things, probably people that have enough disposable income to enter and travel to these events (certainly that's what dictates what I enter).  I'm not sure I'd call a 3.30ish marathon runner a not-quite run pace, admittedly not a sub 3.15 (eligible for elite start at London) runner, but hardly slow.  Actually - we are now well off subject aren't we! 

Do you mean 14.24 for the 100km though?

22/03/2012 at 14:13

no it was 4:24 and 50k, bret pointed out my ultra goldfish tendencies re hyper memorising mega numbers. 

22/03/2012 at 14:15
22/03/2012 at 15:02

I definitely agree with the older and slower in my case, but not the fatter !

On the Highland Fling last year I was amazed at how many runners said hello when passing, being in the first wave start that meant one hell of a lot of faster younger guys overtook me - the majority said hello or how are you doing. At every aid station I shouted thank you or hello to the marshalls giving out bags or handling the timings, its only polite .

 I have to agree though that some runners on that race were bloody downright rude! Two of us plodders were completely barged and elbowed out of the way by a couple of relay runners on the narrow Inversnaid stretch, all they had to do was shout Hi, coming through please? .....If I'm there this year I will push the feckers in the Loch !

I arrived at the Bein Glass aid point to be greeted by a very grumpy marshal - I said Hi there, she glowered at me! There was a general air of the marshalls being very very pissed off at this aid station - I checked in and just got my drop bag and carried on. I later found out on the Fling forum that this was where a number of runners had been extremely abusive to the marshalls - one marshall was refusing to be involved in the event again and the Bein glas farm / campsite people were also hacked off with the behaviour of crews and runners.

Like Noanie (I think?) said - if someone offends a marshall to that extent, ie is verbally or physically abusive, you have to take their number down and ban them from the next race, its the only way really.

22/03/2012 at 15:31

Just checked the profile of the aforementioned 50k race its quite hilly so maybe does justify a slower time (course record is 4hr 01)

My take on abusive tonks at CP's is just give them a time penalty say 10mins for each time there rude.

The look on there face at the end would be priceless if they have accumalated a lot of time penalties

Or failing that yeah push em in the canal.....

22/03/2012 at 15:36

The pushing in the canal clause would be more practical at some events than others. 

The GUCR for example, would be eminently suited to testing such a sanction!

22/03/2012 at 17:11

TP - it was the Fling I was thinking of in particular, one of the marshalls wrote a fairly disgusted post on the website forum - I must have missed all that drama ... like you I experienced only courtesy from the fast runners - peeps like Jez Bragg shouting 'thank you' as I moved aside to let him and others go past me, but also some very rude relay runners.

Liking the idea of time penalty and definitely naming and shaming where possible

22/03/2012 at 17:32

Cragchick - I know the guy who has taken over as the new organiser of the fling this year - we used to work together, although a while ago now. Maybe I should drop him a wee email, or point him in the direction of this thread?  

He was marshalling at the finish line last year so he will no doubt have heard what happened and know about the ongoing Bein Glas / relay crew parking issues. I'm sure he will be at pains to sort things out so people dont compromise the future of the race with rudeness.

One thing I would have done though is cut back the number of relay teams on that race, 47 listed with 4 people in each!!!!!!?????  I'd limit the teams to maybe 20, and make it mainly a solo runner event with say a 500 limit, although maybe even that is too many on that route.

22/03/2012 at 18:41

Agree there were a hell of a lot of relay runners - would always be nice if they were diferentiated in some way - wearing a sash or something, very disheartening as you are plodding along when a relay runner comes flying past!!!

I am concerned it's going to be really busy this year - that stretch around Loch Lommond last year was heaving because of the lovely weather - all us runners plus all the tourists and other visitors etc, but too late to worry now!

23/03/2012 at 21:23

Why would anybody want to be a relay runner?

Do you think I want to divide my race experience between five people?

23/03/2012 at 21:35
hey Ben, that's a good point!
24/03/2012 at 18:59

Exactly what I think too.

With the Fling in particular but with a lot of other races too - the point for me is its a journey - in this case from Lowland Scotland across the Highland boundary geological faultline, along Loch Lomond and into the true Highlands. I mean who really would want to just run the flat Milngavie - Drymen stretch and leave it at that?  

25/03/2012 at 21:35
Yes, 'the journey's is exactly what it's about for me; psychological, physical and geographical!
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