Tuesday, December 28, 2010
In honor of the donations to my Wounded Warrior Project fundraising page, our course tour continues! Thanks to Chad Gruett, Bill Gahwyler, Blake Whitney, Sara Finan Melly, Andrew Kirk, Rob McColgan, and Phil Erwin whose donations marked the miles of second stage, from Escarpment to Lyons Ridge, in my December 22nd post. A special note of thanks to Phil for his service, and recognition to Sara's brother Matt, who is Army ROTC, and the men and women of the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron, 157th Air Refueling Wing, out of Pease, NH, for whom Phil asked me to dedicate a mile.
For the third stage, thanks to Lisa and Joe Wenderoth, Durgesh Mankekar, Crystal Johnson, Heather Danielson, Eamon O'Keefe, and Meghan Rhatigan for their support of the Wounded Warrior Project. A special note of thanks to Meghan's father William, who served in the Marines, and brother Tim, who serves in the Navy.
The third stage of the Western States course takes runners from the Lyons Ridge aid station at Mile 10 1/2 to the Red Star Ridge aid station at Mile 16. This portion of the course involves a lot of ridge running along a rocky dirt path.
It's a series of ups and downs, none too severe...or so it looks--what do I know? I've never run this section of the course! It's consistently in the mid-7000s of elevation.
That doesn't mean there aren't sizable "hills." We call these mountains in Missouri. As you can see from the photos, there will likely be some snow along this stretch, too.
It also ensures some spectacular views.
The one thing I've noticed in reviewing the course photos is that there are a lot of trees along this stretch, but not much shade. The sun will still be low in the sky, but it's apparent that this is the beginning of the sun-filled day runners have ahead of them. The canyons ahead soon will reach 100 degrees.
The Red Star aid station is a welcome sight for some runners, as it is the first of eleven drop stations, where runners can have access to bags they have pre-packed and provided to race officials before the starting gun is fired.
Runners might place a change of clothes, special race supplies like a particular brand of energy gel or Bodyglide, flashlights (when night approaches), a change of socks or shoes, or whatever else mgiht fight in a 16" long bag that must fit through a 6" x 8" opening. Surprisingly, it is not usually too difficult to locate a drop bag, though bright colors make it even easier to find with ever-wearying eyes.
The lead runners will enter Red Star Ridge around 7:25 a.m., 2 hours 25 minutes after the race started. 24 hour runners will follow almost an hour later at 8:20, and 30 hour runners will arrive at 9:10 a.m. The aid station, like its predecessor at Lyons Ridge, closes at 10:00 a.m. Only 84 miles to go!