The Pacific Coast Trail Runs have something for everyone. These races are non competitive along beautiful courses that run along the coast of California. On Sunday, May 18, 2008, a handful of Southern Californian runners lined up at 8:30am in record breaking heat to compete in four different events. What they found were challenges that they may not have though they were signing up for.
I don’t think anyone expected this type of record breaking heat when they signed up to run these races. Most of the 8km and 18km runners were able to make it out alive, but the 30km and 50km runners found themselves on the course at the hottest points of the day. I was one of the fortunate ones that joined the 50km race and was able to enjoy the beauty of the course. Around mile 15 that would soon change.
I was running with my friend Donn when we came upon a runner who was lying in the middle of the trail. His name was Brett and he was vomitting, unable to stand on his own. A few runners who stumbled upon him had tried their cell phones, but to no avail. Then I tried mine. It worked! I immediately got in touch with the race director, Wendall, and help was there in the form of a lifeguard/paramedic and ranger within 20 minutes. With the aid of another runner named LeRoy, we tried carrying him out but the single track would not allow it. It was time to call for back up. About 30 minutes later we heard the sound of a helicopter. Had it not been such an unfortunate situation, it would have been an exciting experience watching the experts work as they lifted Brett on to the aircraft without even landing it. Donn, LeRoy and I finished the 30km together. We had timed out of the 50km.
The true spirit of ultrarunning was alive on Sunday. I have learned that this type of running is not about who wins or loses an event, but testing your soul and finding out who you really are as a person. I am pretty impressed with all the athletes that I met yesterday who put themselves aside to help another. This is what makes me love this sport.
article by: Summer Wesson