This was taken from an email I wrote to my sister – who will be helping out at my first 50 mile race:
You saw how at the end of a marathon some people need help. Well, in an ultramarathon – we are all mental, so need help in different ways. You are going to have to decide at times when to be a nurse and when to not be.
Lie – tell us we are looking good, we can finish strong, we are moving well – anything like that.
Don’t ask how we are doing – there are high points and low points – but at the time you will see us – we will all be hurting. If we are tired, sore, our legs hurt, we want to puke, etc – encourage us to keep moving.
Get people in and out of the station as quickly as you can. Encourage them to eat and drink. Fill their water bottles for them to help speed them out. If one thing sounds horrible to us, try another. Be concerned if someone is looking dazed and like they need real medical attention – but you will have the advantage of being near the end and people will be trying their best to finish.
If someone is near a time limit – encourage them to push on as fast as they can. DNF (Did not finish) and getting ‘cut off’ are two of the things ultra runners fear the most.
At that point in time – unless a blister is just starting, people are living with blisters and will probably just move on and cope with the pain. I don’t know what supplies Jim will have – he says he will have a first aid kit – but I’ve heard duct tape is great. You might also want to have some towels and buckets of water handy if you want to bandage feet. Bandages don’t stick to dirty sweaty feet.
Things not to say:
* You are almost there or you are almost finished. Instead – say something like – “this is the last aid station – you are going to finish this puppy!”
* It’s all downhill from here. No – it’s not – and we hate hearing it.
* C’mon – you can go faster than that. Nope – or we would be doing it.
If people want to know what is up ahead – there is a 3.5 mile section of single track. It wraps around the northwest corner of the hill and eventually ends up in White Rock Bay. At that point in time they get on roads and have one uphill – but will see the finish and can handle it. There is a point about 1 to 1.5 miles from the aid station where it gets really rocky and you might want to caution them to be careful – but it only last for less than a half mile. They will be facing some small uphills – but the worst of the course is over.
I am so excited about this weekend!