Monday, October 3, 2016

Folsom Lake Ultra Trail (FLUT)

Folsom Lake Ultra Trail (FLUT)
(October 1, 2016)

FLUT is another race put on by Singletrack Running so I was the volunteer coordinator again.  This race went very smoothly.  The weather was just perfect -- not too hot, not too cold, no rain.  So, we didn't encounter the same challenges we had in Pioneer Spirit.  I also made some adjustments from Pioneer Spirit that I think helped make FLUT run a bit smoother.   All the volunteers were AMAZING and definitely a big part of the way going smoothly.  I didn't have any major problems to deal with.  So, I say it was definitely a successful race!  

Here are my 10 memorable moments and/or things that were good about the day: 

1.  Hanging with many friends at different aid stations.  I spent a good amount of time at the Gate 142 and Salmon Falls aid stations.  They were the biggest hubs as they were relay exchange points so not only did I see my friends working as volunteers but also many friends who were crew members, relay runners, and spectators.  I also tried to stop in on Horseshoe Bar and Rattlesnake Bar but they had already efficiently shut down by the time I got there.  I made it out to Cool, Flagstaff, New York Creek, Brown's Bar, and Folsom Point aid stations during various parts of the day.  It was nice seeing some friends I haven't been able to see in some time.  And, it was great seeing everything was going smoothly at each aid station and the volunteers seemed to be enjoying themselves.  

2.  My friends Kevin and Janae were running a relay together.  They are husband and wife.  And during the relay exchange, the runners exchange a slap bracelet.  When the exchange happened, I told Janae that "this is the only acceptable time your husband can slap you."  Also, their relay team was named Make Folsom Lake Great Again!  One of my favorite team names of the race!  They finished 2nd Relay.  

3.    Samantha's post-race potato leek soup!  It was AMAZING!  Seriously.  

the before picture.  photo credit: Samantha Rose

4.  Seeing the runners enjoy the bacon and the breakfast burritos.  They were a big hit at the aid stations.  The joy on their faces when they were offered a burrito was priceless.  :) 

5.  Spencer, a young racer in the 110k, was struggling to get to Salmon Falls Aid Station.  About two miles from the aid station, they encountered volunteers Kelly, Jerry, and Matt (who had gone out on the course to check on runners coming in).  He was dragging.  Matt stayed with him and Jerry and Kelly ran ahead to the aid station to help get him food/drinks.  He took some time at the aid station to regroup.  A number of the volunteers at the aid station stepped up to help pace Spencer for some sections to the finish.  Everyone at the Salmon Falls AS really pulled together for him.  We were all thrilled to see he finished.  

6.  Hanging out at the finish line. The post-race hang out was nice with a fire going, a great food tent with great food, and many awesome friends just hanging out cheering runners in.  I didn't want to wipe myself out like last weekend so I didn't stay until the very end but fun being out there for a bit.  

photo credit: Kelly Cronin

7.  Helping my friend and fellow STR Racing team mate Michael at the Salmon Falls Aid Station and seeing him later in the day running towards Folsom Crossing, the last stretch before the finish.  He won the 110k race!  He looked solid throughout the day.  

8.  Seeing some of the children of volunteers coming out to help too!   Leigh's boys morphed into trail ninjas and helped run some of the runners into the Cool AS.  Nice seeing the kids not only helping out but having fun too!  

Dalila's daughter, Genna's daughter and Leigh's two boys helped out at the Cool AS
trail ninjas (Leigh's boys)
my Ellie out cheering runners on

9.  Driving up Rattlesnake Bar Road to the Flagstaff Aid Station.  When I ran FLUT last year, this road was a miserable experience for me.  It was really hot and I ran out of water.  My feet were blistering and my legs were cramping.  I had to stop many times along the road.  A volunteer driving by helped me by getting more water.  It was MUCH nicer to be driving up the road this time.  It was also nice that it wasn't as this year as it was last year.  I was happy to not find any struggling runners as I headed to the aid station.  I only saw one runner nearing the aid station (looking to be in good shape) and three happy sweepers.  And, everyone was well ahead of the cutoff time so that was nice to see.

10.  And, one of my favorite memories: A runner blew out his knee or something between Flagstaff and Salmon Falls.  He was coming in after the cutoff.  I went out from the aid station to check on him and the sweepers.  I found a runner named David walking with two sticks (branches he found) as he slowly worked his way to the finish. The three sweepers (Fran, Julie, and Jessica) were doing a wonderful job encouraging him along and providing him support, even lighting the way when it got dark.  While the guy was certainly in a lot of pain, there were a lot of laughs during this time as the girls chatted him as we worked to get him into the aid station.  This time was a special moment as I witnessed perseverance, care, love, friendship, comradarie, was everything about why we love this sport.  


I really want to acknowledge the many individuals who help put on an ultra.   I hope other runners can really see that it does take a village to put on an ultra event and maybe offer to give back as well.

First of all before I get to the volunteers, I will say the race directors sPaulo and Clint put a lot of time and energy into making sure this was a successful event.  Many hours in planning beforehand and checking all the logistics.  They both helped mark the course before the race started and double checked the markings on the day of the race.  They did their best to tend to everyone's needs and make sure it was good day for everyone.  From what I saw, they did a great job!  

Now, to the volunteers.  Our events would not be successful without some AWESOME volunteers.  Here are the many volunteers I want to acknowledge (Super sorry if I forgot anyone or I didn't get your picture).  

RDs Paulo and Clint along with Ian, Britton and Melissa helped mark the course.  Course is 68.5 miles which people have to go out and mark all of it so the racers know where to go.  

Kelly and company helped prepare the many breakfast burritos and bacon for all the aid stations. 

Granite Bay Aid Station 
Glenn and Patty helped run this station in the wee hours of the morning.  

Horseshoe Bar Aid Station
Kelly and her team helped captain three aid stations: Horseshoe Bar, Rattlesnake Bar, and Salmon Falls aid stations.  At Horseshoe Bar were Matt, Jennifer, Michele, and Chris.  

Rattlesnake Bar Aid Station  
Kelly also helped captain this aid station.  She worked at this aid station along with Sara, CJ, Jerry, Sue, and Sylvia.  

Gate 142
My MRTT gals ran this aid station.  Amy was the fabulous captain.  Her team included Tamara, Erin, Lori, Kim, and Justine.  

Also, here was Jersey and Monica who helped with the live tracking of the runners.  They also took some pictures of the runners.  

No Hands Aid Station 
This aid station was handled by Auburn Fit, captained by Bryan.  

Cool Aid Station
This aid station was captained by Melissa.  The volunteers here included Patty, Leigh with her two sons, Dalila with her daughter, and Genna with her daughter.  

And just past the Cool Aid Station, Alena worked as a course monitor making sure runners knew where to go coming off the trail and heading down Highway 49.  

Oakview Drive Aid Station
This aid station was captained by Tim and Erin.  The volunteers included their family as well as Lorelei and her family.  

Flagstaff Aid Station
This aid station was captained by Jeff.  He had three additional volunteers including Jay (sorry I didn't get the names of the two others there).  

Salmon Falls Aid Station
This aid station was up and running from late morning into the evening.  Kelly also captained this aid station. Sue, Matt, Sue, Jenn, Joe, Karen, Sylvia, CJ, and Sara were part of the fabulous team here.  Kelly and her team were great in making sure everyone was well taken care of and the aid stations has all sorts of yummy goodies (including rice crispy treats).  

New York Creek Aid Station
This aid station was captained by Jason.  The volunteers here included Doug and Lance.  

Brown's Ravine Aid Station
This aid station was captained by Theresa.  The volunteers here included Cassandra, Stephanie, Chris, Beth, and Anabella.

New York Creek Aid Station
After Paulo, Jersey, Monica, Keith and Megan helped set up the aid station (watch the video of how an aid station is set up.  Video by Jersey)

Keith, Megan, Glenn, Charles, Sharon, and Ginger worked as volunteers for the aid station.  Sharon and Ginger worked the cold late hours until midnight.  

Tim and his family also helped immensely by set up the finish line area.

Samantha made some FABULOUS soup for the race finisher's and volunteers.  

Rebecca and Ian helped serve food at the finish line (Ian had not only helped out earlier the days before but earlier in the morning with putting out the cones.  He paced a runner.  Then came and worked at the finish line until 1 am).  

Beverly and Alan helped volunteer with race timing and making sure the race finish times were inputted accurately.  

Vickie helped at the finish and bringing some additional supplies to some aid stations.  

Safety Patrol and Sweepers
Cheri and Jason ran safety patrol for the first 22 miles making sure all the course markings were still up.  Season and Rachael ran the first 22 miles behind the back of the pack while pulling the ribbons and making sure the trail was clean.  

Edd and Gary ran safety patrol for the second 24 miles checking on the course markings and helping some struggling runners during this section.  Francisca, Julie, and Jessica ran sweep for this section behind all the runners and helped pull down the course marking and clean up trash.  They helped a struggling runner get to the Salmon Falls aid station and patiently stuck with him to make sure he got to the aid station safely.  

Keith and Megan ran safety patrol for the third 21 miles checking on the course markings.  Jonathan, Avinash, and Erin ran as sweeps for this last section pulling down the course markings and helping along any struggling runners at the back of the pack.  

Jesse, Jersey and Matt were at various points throughout the course taking pictures of racers.  

Kaleb also helped driving volunteers to various places and getting some volunteers coffee to stay awake as well as pack up the day after.  


As you can see from the MANY names listed, it took a village to put on the event!  And on behalf of myself, Paulo, and Clint, we would like to give a BIG thank to all the volunteers for helping put on another wonderful race!

And on behalf of all of Singletrack, we would like to thank the State Park (Folsom and Auburn) as well as El Dorado County, El Dorado Fire Department, Cal Trans, and CHP.  

And, congratulations to all the folks who raced out there!  :) 

Note:  I didn't get paid by Singletrack Running to write this blog or to be the volunteer coordinator.  I just like supporting my friend Paulo's events and giving back to the running community.  I think all I got was some bites of food at the aid station, maybe a couple cans of Pepsi and a few cups of Samantha's soup at the finish line.  

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