Friday, July 25, 2014

Rocking Rockwell Road Aid Station

Photo credit: Bin.
Manning an aid station at a race is never easy. Manning a main aid station is even tougher!

This year at the You Yangs Trail Run, the hubs and I volunteered to help out at the event. We were assigned an aid station to man and since we've had at least one prior experience, we were fine with it. 

It was a lovely day out at the You Yangs. The weather was brilliant, with just teeny pissy shower that was too weak to wash the grime off weary runners. We forgot to bring foldable chairs/stools as we were rushing that morning (what else is new?) but thankfully there were several rocks nearby which made good seats.

We failed to realise, or keep forgetting, that our aid station was the hub of all activities. We were located at an intersection/crossroad where runners from 80km to 50km to 30km to 15km and 5km would come by our station. Basically, all runners. With runners coming from 3 different directions at times, it was one heck of a party! :)

It never ceases to amaze me how polite participants can be. They thank us for being there that day, and every time someone said, "Thanks for being here today. You're amazing/kind/wonderful!" 

I would fumble a lame reply, like, "No worries, uhh, have a good run! Enjoy your run!"

They are just SO polite!!!!!!
So sweeeeeeeeeeet.
I want to thank them in return, for having such wonderful manners. 
And for being awesome runners!

Kirra was 1st female in the 50KM, finishing in 4:42

Watching the lead packs come through in all seriousness was interesting. Not everyone would stop and refuel, as I suppose they would have done so at other aid stations or have enough in their hydration packs. Besides ours, there were 3 other aid stations along the course (for the 50 and 80km).

Photo credit: Gary.

We enjoyed cheering them on, having the chance to ring our Buffalo Stampede cow bells like crazy. Gary's little bub, Angelena was the star attraction when they were with us for a short period of time. She's a little Mashimaro! :)

There were a lot of happy smiley faces and there were a lot of weary ones, too. Some of the runners looked exhausted and on the verge of collapsing, and some were still smiling even after a long, long day.

One guy had a bloody knee and I offered him a wet wipe/tissue to clean it up but he declined. I felt like a mother hen when I tried insisting, but he firmly declined.

I realised later on that it would be unmanly to clean up a little cut. :)

Another guy didn't realise he had a nose bleed until I pointed it out. I can't remember who, but I hope he made it safely across the finish line and back into the comfort of his own home!

Trail camaraderie.

Some of the comments we heard from runners include:

"I need a new right leg. Can you give me one?"
"Is there a short cut?"
"Do you serve beer?"
"Ooh, cow bells ..."
"It's so great to see you again ..." (From one of the 80km runners on his last lap.) 
"Is there morphine? Are you sure you don't have any?"
"Best aid station ever!" (That's a very tall compliment!)
"Aah, cow bells. I love the sound of cow bells ..." (Buttercup's words!)
"Didn't you hear the story about ...? I can't believe you haven't!"

The last one was a funny one, told by Matt Bell. We laughed so hard (or maybe it was just me) each time we recall his tale. If you want to know what the story is about, you'll have to ask me in private. :)

Rob took 3rd place in the 80km. He's a crazy machine! With a cow on his pack. :D

We had a few friends who set new milestones that day. To name a few, Matt completed his first 100 Miler in 19 hours. Yuan completed his first 80km in 10 hours (and 7 minutes), and Manish in 11 hours plus. Erin managed to secure 2nd female in the 30km under 3 hours, while enjoying the run with her dad! Chris and Isaac secured 7th and 8th place in the 50km and under 5 hours. Jon managed 146km in his 100 Miler debut.

Overall, every single runner did great, friends or not, and I applaud their energy and tenacity. I was a bit relieved not to be running through the MTB switchback tracks myself, ugh, but Jacqui told me that she actually enjoyed her run all the way. Crazy girl, but that's the spirit!

Some 80km early starters ran before the sun rose, and finishing it just by sun set. Madness!

Just so you know, volunteering at a trail event does not include breakfast or lunch, so you'll have to bring your own food. We don't get paid for the job either. Instead, you'll be given a discount or a free entry to any other Trails+ event. (I believe it applies to Rohan's events (Two Bays Trail and Rollercoaster Run) as well but I'm not sure.)

So why do we spend our entire day out there?
It's a great social opportunity to meet with people, it's one way of giving back to the running community, and it's a fabulous way of being part of your friends' running experience.

6pm: We waited for the last 2 runners to come by before closing up for the day.

And you know me, I just want to chat with everyone!
Even when I'm out running the trails, I'd stop to chat with cheery hikers or runners alike. (If you read most of my race reports, there's always a mention of me chatting to supporters or volunteers or runners along the way!)

My only issue that day was dealing with nature's call(s). As we were located smack in the middle of the park and not at a picnic area, there were no toilets available. Every time I needed to go, we had to wait for the coast to clear before I could find a decent sized rock or thick bushes to hide behind and pee.

I hope no one saw me with my pants down!

Bin wanted to play wayang kulit.

Now what would make an aid station as awesome as Two Bays Trail Runs'? I think I'll need to bring some pom poms the next time, learn some cheerleading moves, or a radio to start blasting some music, but basically, line some kids up to cheer the runners on, because everyone adores cute children!

For the latter, I'll have to borrow someone's children!

It was a fun day out, albeit a tiring one. We had fun, and I hope everyone else did, too!

Photos taken by the hubs at our aid station can be found on my Facebook page:

Results can be found on Trails+' page but it seems incomplete.

Last year's race report.


  1. Manning an aid station sure beats having to run the race, right? At least you get to laugh at all those 'fools' I mean, brave people running in pain .... :D

    1. haha! i'll only agree to the first sentence, and not the second one. :)

  2. It was great spending the morning with you guys at Rockwell. And you can borrow Angelena anytime. All you need to do is to feed her chips :p

    1. Angelena is soooo shy! besides feeding her chips, we'll have to get her to warm up to us. :) :) :)