Where’s Waldo 100km is less than a week away. What’s it like for a race director in the final days before the race? I often get asked, “You ready for the race?,” and my standard answer at this stage is that so many things have been set in motion it could happen without me. Of course, it could all be stopped by a forest fire like WS in 2008, but that would actually be more difficult than letting it proceed without me. This is the 8th year of the race, and the infrastructure is in place so theoretically the workload should be less. I guess it is, but it is all about details, details, details in the final days.
So what kind of details are we dealing with? The UPS and Fed Ex guys visit us almost daily so our house is full of boxes. I’m constantly asking my wife where things are, if she’s seen such and such a box, and shouting at my cat, “Oh my god don’t pee on that box, Rocky!” There’s lots of last minute runner correspondence including start time changes, drops, additions, and returned snail-mail; general questions regarding rules, camping, etc., and every RD’s favorite questions like “Can I get a refund?” or “Will you roll my entry over to next year?;” final details on printing of shirts, bandanas, awards, etc.; stuff not showing up on-time and figuring out where it is; final assignments and details for key volunteers; arrangements for start/finish including toilets, tents, tables, grills, etc.; last minute course and trail issues (the final trees on the PCT are being cleared today). Now, most of those are not that criticial in the grand scheme of things, but when you get last minute questions from the Forest Service regarding your permit – those can be game-enders.
What’s in store for the coming week? Curt will be camping out beginning tonight and marking the course this whole week. At my house in Eugene we’ll be doing race packets, printing of final runner lists, and the ever-popular big food shop (I don’t have to do that anymore thanks to Laurie and Beki). We’ll have many friends over at the house helping all week. Aid station captains will pick up their supplies and volunteer t-shirts Thursday evening or Friday morning. Then we load up the trailer Friday, make the 75 minute trek to the ski area, and set things up.
Sometimes while dealing with all the details I forget about the actual race. Being the USATF 100km Trail Championships and the first race of the 2009/2010 Montrail Ultracup, we’ve got quite a field assembled. First, the men. We’ve got a handful of top WS finishers including Zach Miller (MT), Mark Lantz (CA), and Victor Ballesteros (CA); past winners Neil Olsen (OR) and Lewis Taylor (OR); the east coast contingent of Sean Andrish (VA), Steve Core (VA), Brian Schmidt (VA), and Jason Bryant (NC); proven northwest runners Brian Morrison (WA), William Emerson (WA), and Sean Meissner (OR); and a couple of fast guys moving up to 100km including Erik Skaggs (OR) and Matt Lonergan (OR). I leave it to others to predict who will win, but I expect the winner to come from these guys.
The women’s field is not as deep as it was just a few weeks ago as three top women have dropped because they are going to do Trans-Rockies. Come on ladies, Colorado over Oregon? The top women include Waldo veterans Bev Anderson-Abbs (CA), Meghan Arbogast (OR), and Kim Martin (OH); a couple fast women moving up to 100km including Joelle Vaught (ID) and Shawna Wilskey (WA); and the likely Oregon Trail Series winner Pam Smith (OR).
We also have some age-groupers who are worth noting. Kent Holder (WA) is running Waldo for the third time, but his first in the new 70-74 age group; Roy Pirrung (WI), 61, who has won countless national championships at 24-hours; and Peter Fish (OR), our oldest runner at 73.
As my friend AJW would say: Bring It On!