Posted on the Ultralist:
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 18:02:01 +0000
From: lazarus lake
Subject: vol-state final report-sticks and stones
so i just got home from spending the last night at the rock. i found myself counting down the miles on the final drive the same way i count down the miles at the end of a tough multi-day.
68 miles to our exit… 67… 66…
after more than 3,000 miles in a car in the past 2 weeks, driving isnt fun anymore. i wanted nothing more than to get home, get clean, and sit around doing nothing.
while everyone was taking turns with the shower, i logged on to check my e-mail. it’s sunday, right?
so there ought not be more than 12 or 15 messages to clear.
when i saw the nearly 100 messages in my inbox, i immediately assumed that someone had dumped a radioactive post onto the list. imagine my surprise to find out it was me!
while my initial reaction was amusement, i suppose i should try to set the record straight.
1) the vol-state updates are mostly written in a hurry. regardless of whether someone believes that my brains are being suffocated in a car seat, or baking in the sun, the updates just are what they are. my best effort to pass along what is happening. nothing gets vetted by the vol-state public relations department prior to posting.
2) i always find it amazing how quickly people’s opinions change based on single inputs. it has served me well to always evaluate people based on my total knowledge of them. generally, if someone says (or does) something that i dont understand, or that seems out of character, i try to react by awaiting clarification. it seems like a waste of emotion to go thru shock, anger, and outrage when i might not even understand what actually took place.
3) king juli the lean was my pre-race pick to win. i knew her thru e-mail before i ever met her, and watching her race, i have been very impressed by her toughness, competitive spirit, and ability. i thought joe ninke could give her a run for her money (and did he ever!), but felt that bei ng unaided would cost him along the way. if i failed to pay due respect to her by considering her as just an athlete, rather than as a female athlete… oh, well. she is still the king, and she became king the same way as all the other kings, by beating out all the other contenders.
4) rules. it is a shame we need to have rules. but i know they are necessary. the vol-state rules are always in a state of development. when different issues arise, we discuss them on the vol-state list, and the runners themselves decide. the purpose of the vol-state is to provide a venue for the runners to test themselves. i like to think it follows in the footsteps of the original badwater in being a race for the runners. in any event, the rules under which each vol-state is run are the rules that count. any rules changes are not going to be retroactive, and trekking poles have never been disallowed.
5) trekking poles are not allowed in many events for which i have great respect. they are considered as mechanical aids. since there has been some discussion of the subject the last couple of years, it seemed like we should address the issue before next year. probably i shouldnt have brought the subject up at that time, but (as i have noted) my brains had been suffocating in a car seat for some 3,000 miles, and sleep had been sort of a catch as catch can proposition. the only reason i got near the subject was seeing the picture of juli being assisted to the edge of the rock by val. it was sort of a pre-emptive strike against that being misinterpreted. i remembered the controversy over an assisted finish at western states not too many years ago, and didnt want it to come up here, during king juli’s moment of triumph. musing over next year was just a related topic that was in my head, and out it came, right into the update.
6) the “assistance” picture. after watching the very first king stagger out to the rock, we set up a second “finish line” about 20 feet short. the racing portion of the event ends there, and EVERY finisher has someone there to marshall them over the final 20 feet. it was i who suggested to val that he do the honors for king juli. it seemed appropriate, given how important he was to her success.
7) marv & stu. as someone has already said, devolution is legal. unaided runners can accept aid, and become aided runners. solo runners can become a relay. but everyone on a relay team has to ride the ferry (so it has seldom come up before). i only remember one other switch to a relay, and they didnt finish.
as for marvin, his 211 mile unaided run, at age 72, is one of those great performances that make the race worth holding. in the end, he got caught by the same problem that my number 2 pencil and i struggle with in planning out an unaided run. the layout of cities and motels in the last hundred miles make a 10 day finish demand some extraordinary efforts. credit marv for not just the sagacity of his plan that very nearly got him that finish, but his “professionalism” as a competitor. it wasnt that he couldnt finish, but that he was going to miss the cutoff. he could have asked for a “variance”, he could have asked me to support the finish thru sunday (and i would have done it…altho his finish wouldnt have counted.) instead he was ready to withdraw rather than ask for any special treatment. the appearance of stu (who had run 50 miles, dropped, went home, then came back to see if we needed help) was a godsend.
first stu became a crew to try and help marvin finish within the limit. then, when they realized it was too late for that, stu teamed up to help marv get to the rock & have something to show for his efforts. i found in the marv & stu story a little of everything that is good in our sport. from being in direct competition, to becoming a team, there can be no better example of the special bond that ties competitors together. you can be sure that, head to head, stu and marvin would exert every last effort to beat one another. but they also share a mutal respect and affection that would allow them to derive equal joy from helping one another when the situation calls for it.
8) everybody is a hero. every finisher has a story worthy of a book. the vol-state is not something you just do on a lark. i wish i could spend twice this much space (altho i have probably already lost most readers by now) on every one of them. even those who fell short have stories worth telling. it takes a lot of guts to get on that ferry.
Final Finishers Standings
Juli Aistars – 5 days 22:01:33
Joe Ninke – 5 days 23:10
Don Winkley- 6 days 04:31:44
Fred Davis – 6 days 05:09:08
Abi Meadows – 7d 10:34:33
Marvin Skagerberg & Stu Gleman Relay – 9d 12:20:44
John Price 9:21:59:09
Mike Samuelson – race time: 5d 00:00:00 Mileage: 190
Lynnor Matheny – race time: 4d 06:00:00 Mileage: 127
Diane Taylor – race time: 2d 12:00:00 Mileage: 67
Bruce Tanksley – race time: 2d 12:00:00 Mileage: 67
Byron Backer – race time: 1d 00:00:00 Mileage: 57
Dan Baglione – race time: 0d 15:00:00 Mileage: 28