Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run
Instructions for Aid Station Captains
Updated April 2010
Thank you for agreeing to help us with the MMT 100. We are looking forward to another great event this year. This page is designed for those who will be responsible for being the captain or an aid station. The following are guidelines on how to accomplish this task. The race day aid station coordinator for this year's event will be Bill Sublett. Stan Duobinis, the RD, is coordinating the volunteers ahead of time.
Directions to Aid Stations (These are for crews, but you can take the Google links and find directions from anywhere that way.)
NOTE: We have learned how much runners want REAL FOOD at night. For the night time aid stations, you don't need a lot of crackers and cookies, but you do need bread and meat for sandwiches and hot soup. Additionally, you should have hot water for instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate. The hot items are a real delicacy for the runners.
You only have a duty to provide for the runners. It is unlikely that you can make enough food for the crews, "friends," and assorted people you see. Give out food however you want, but please remember that back of the pack runners who would also like something hot. So save some for them. You need to cordon off the items that are highly sought after (the hot food and sandwiches) and give it only to the registered runners. If you give it to others, a back of the packer who really needs it will not get any.
Mission: The aid station's mission is to (1) keep the volunteers happy; (2) keep track of the runners; and (3) give the runners food and fluids.
General: Bill Sublett's schedule with respect o bringing your drop bags is different this year with the new course. Be sure to talk to him about when or if he is coming to your aid station.
Open-Close Times: The opening and closing (aka "cutoff") times for aid stations are on the Web site. If you have any doubt about when your aid station opens, ask. The earlier you get there, the better. Since this is the first year with this course, the times are conservative.
Where to Report: Most of you will go directly to your aid stations.
What to Bring: Please buy your own supplies. Anstr Davidson will send you a check to purchase them. If any money is left over, use it for gas. Don't go over this amount. This is easiest for us, and it allows you to be responsible for what you have and what you give out.
The 2020 field is full and will have the same number of people as last year. Unfortunately, all our prior split data is not valid now. But you can use it to make guesses about when people will arrive and how many there will be. Check out the 2009 split time chart. (You will have to look for an aid station that, last year, was about the same distance as yours is this year.) Just remember that it is hard to predict how many runners will reach your aid station, especially if you have a later one. The weather may have a major bearing on drops (as well as water consumption). The only supplies we will give you is the energy replacement drink. If you have any left over energy replacement drink yourself, bring it as a back up. But we should be able to supply you with all you need in that regard. You must bring everything else.
The money we send you will vary by the location of your aid station. We send a little less to the day time aid stations. They are not expected to have the variety of "real" food. If you can afford it, however, it is nice to have one real delicacy at these stations too. (An easy option is beef jerky, though it's not cheap.)
- Water - Please bring 40 gallons for the night time aid stations. The day time aid stations should have more, especially if it is warm. (Warm is defined as over 70 degrees.) Let Stan or Bill know if this is a problem. They can help. Bill will have water on the truck but not enough for everyone. Whatever you do, DO NOT RUN OUT OF WATER!
- Energy Drink - we will provide this. If you have a tub to mix it in, please bring it. If not, bring some clean, empty milk cartons. It is more efficient to mix a gallon at a time anyway. You can mix the drink more easily in a carton you can shake rather than stir in a bigger container.
- Coke or Pepsi - 2 liter bottles are preferable. These are cheap insurance. Twenty bottles is enough. Also have some Mountain Dew. You might want a couple of bottles of other drinks like Ginger Ale or 7 Up.
- Ice - buy on the way out. Gauge by weather, some if cold, lots if warm. Not as much at night.
Salt Delivery Systems: These are interchangeable. Buy two of each but don't worry if you run out of one as long as you have some others in this category. Buy cheap in this category.
- Saltines, Pretzels, Potato chips
Sugar Delivery Systems : Same theory as crackers (salt). Buy a little of several kinds. Again, go cheap - store brands the whole way.
- Vanilla Creams, Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip, M&Ms, Gummy Bears
Fruits and Vegetables: Buy these last and stick within budget. Most runners now like cold, boiled potatoes that can be dipped in salt, but only a minority will eat the other fruit. Don't waste a lot of money on fruit, but have plenty of potatoes.
- Boiled potatoes (cold) with salt - 10 pounds should be plenty. NOTE: We understand that you can buy a big tin of pre-cooked potatoes at Costco. An option here is canned potatoes.
- Bananas - 2-4 big bunches cut into small pieces (They almost give bananas away at Costco.)
- Oranges - about 15 cut into sections
- Grapes - only if not too expensive (can substitute raisins)
Real Food: Runners love this. Bring what suits your fancy. Less (but some) during day, more at night.
- Peanut butter/jelly sandwiches
- Cheese - string is easiest, or a spread (you can put cheese spread on a cracker)
- Optional - turkey/cheese sandwiches w/mayo (keep mayo cool)
- Starting with the Visitors Center aid station and after - hot soup (chicken noodle or similar - one recipe is to bring a few pounds of pasta and some chicken bullion cubes). Some runners might prefer plain bullion. (If you look at the ingrediants of "chicken" bullion cubes, you will see that no chickens were harmed in making them.) Bring a camp stove to cook the soup, and it can be used for heating water for tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. (Any aid station worth its salt will need more than one burner.) Another soup option is potato soup. It has the advantage of appealing to vegetarians also. In any event, please try to have something warm for vegetarians.
For Yourself: Warm clothes, food and drink (separate for that for the runners -- laboratory animals would die from aid station food), chairs, radio and/or reading materials, shelter (tent or camper), lantern or other light source and flashlights for night aid stations, insect repellant, sun block. You will NOT have electricity, running water, or toilet facilities at most aid stations. This is camping. Assume it will rain. It has at almost every MMT so far! If you bring an awning or other shelter, it might not rain. If you don't, it will for sure!
For The Runners: Blankets (old, but clean - at least 3 or 4 - look for these at yard sales - also old spleeping bags will do), chairs, a cot or reclining chair, picnic table and bench, clipboard, pen, paper, toilet paper, trash bags, tables (at least one).
Food Related: Spoons, knives, paper plates, cups, camp stove.
Cell Phones: Bring your cell phone. There is mixed coverage over the MMT course. Several aid stations will not have cell phone coverage but you can usually drive only a short way to get it. You can get cell phone coverage in most places with clear line of sight into the Shenandoah Valley. You can usually get coverage up high.
First Aid: (To be available for the runners use and application - aid station volunteers should not apply or recommend any medicines) - Vaseline, ibuprofen, aspirin, band-aids, rubbing alcohol, bandages, gauze, medical tape, and duct tape. (You will see runners coming in with scrapes and bruises. They may want to use the alcohol to clean it up.) For serious problems, use the radio people or cell phones to summon aid.
Location of the Aid Station: One of the most important decisions you will make is the exact location of the aid station. Be sure the aid station is in the right place. We will come by to be sure that you are in the right place. In setting up the aid station, think about you, the runners, and the crews when it comes to shade, visibility for approaching runners, closeness to the road and accessibility, parking, comfort, and safety. Even though the runners are going 100 miles, they won't want to detour off the course more than two inches to obtain aid, if they can avoid it. And you need to watch them when they leave to be sure they are going the right way, on course. Visualize how it will all work before you start to set up.
Parking has become a big issue. Plan for parking problems. Cordon off parking areas and, for some aid stations, you will need a parking attendant. Also, you may want signs to help crews find their ways.
Running the Aid Station:
- Accountability of runners is very important. Please focus on this. Check runners by writing down their numbers and the time into the aid station and out of the aid station. Times are very important for situations where a runner strays off course. If any runner drops out, note that fact, tell the radio operator (if there is one) to report it, and try to help the runner find a way back to the start. You are not, however, responsible for getting people back to the start. Usually, if you ignore the problem of a runner who needs a ride long enough, it will cure itself. Your only duty is to keep dropped runners warm. You should let the drop outs forage for their own ride back and only worry about them if they are in bad physical condition or it's closing time and they are still there. Drop outs are great sources for drivers for pacers' cars. If you have dropped runners, don't let any vehicle leave your aid station without trying to palm the runner off on it.
- You should talk to your radio person (if you have one) early about how you are going to keep track of runners. They will be a big help in this regard, but remember that you, not the radio people, are primarily responsible for keeping track of runners at your aid station. The radio folks can help you, but YOU must keep track of who enters and leaves your aid station. The job of the radio person is to transmit the data you keep to the headquarters.
- Turn in your time sheet to Brian McNeill who will come to your aid station at closing time. Runner times can be critical if someone manages to stray off course, and we will need the times to record splits for distribution after the race. If for some reason Brain does not come by, please take the time sheets to race headquarters and give them to Anstr Davidson or Stan Duobinis.
- We will try to keep you informed (via radio) of the number of runners still in the race. You can start packing up and preparing to leave at the closing time of the aid station. One person, however, must remain until that last runner is accounted for.
- Have food and drink ready for the runners, but don't have too much out at once. Many aid stations will be open a long time and runners will be spread out. Too many drinks poured ahead of time get warm and sandwiches get stale. Except at early aid stations, just have a few perishable items out.
- If you have time and enough people, the runners will appreciate it if you offer to fill their water bottles. They should not assume that you will, however. You are not their servants. But how much you pamper them is up to you. If you have something available but it's not visible, be sure to let the runners know.
- Remain neutral on suggestions to the runner (such as whether to sit down). Have the chair available, but let them make their own decisions. Know the distance to the next aid station and the mile mark on the course of your aid station. If you know what the next part of the course is like, tell the runner if she or he asks. If you don't know the course, don't guess.
- Try not to eat the food you brought for yourself in front of runners. Don't tempt them - they may ask for a bite.
- Set out drop bags in an orderly fashion for the runners. Numerical sorting works well. (The race numbers are issued to runners in alphabetic order of their last names except for the two winners from previous years.) Once a runner has passed through and used his/her drop bag, you might want to place it back in a bin, if Bill will be back to collect these to take them to the finish line.
- Don't count on resupply, there is none. If you have enough water to float the Titanic and plenty of Coke and crackers, you should be fine. Pretend you are going on a long ocean voyage. Bring plenty and don't worry about resupply. You may need to go get more stuff yourself. Some aid stations are close to water, most are not.
- Don't take any guff from runners. Most will be very pleasant and appreciative. A few will be in bad moods. Almost none will take out their frustrations on you. If any runner is impolite to you, however, report it and we will take appropriate action. We will try to have a race official to enforce the cutoff times but if there is not one around, you must do it. No runner is allowed to proceed on the course after the closing time for your station. This rule is not to protect the runners, but rather to have some closing time for volunteers. If you let someone go on after the cutoff, you are making the volunteers at the next aid station stay much longer than planned. The fact that the runner "feels fine" is irrelevant. If a runner insists that he proceed past the cutoff, we cannot physically stop him. But tell the runner that he is disqualified from the event, may enter no event in the future sponsored by VHTRC, and we will have no responsibility for his safety, whereabouts, or aid.
- Remind crews (i.e. friends of runners) to park legally. The authorities like to check whether cars have all four wheels off the pavement when parked. Unless you want to run your own fast food restaurant, keep crews away from the runners' food. You might be asked the driving route to the next aid station.
- The pacer rule is different this year. Pacers are only allowed to leave an aid station with runners from the Camp Roosevelt aid station and after. They may not join a runner at the Bird Knob aid station.
(The previous rule was the a pacer could join a runner at any aid station with crew access after 6 p.m. There may be runners who do not know the new rule. This will only be relevant at Habron Gap and maybe Shawl Gap.)
Pacers may take aid at the aid station unless you are running low. Pacers can serve themselves. Keep pacers away from the special food, like the soup, that the registered runners will crave and that is in short supply. It will probably be best to say, "Pacers may have anything here except for the soup and sandwiches." We have not given you enough money to feed everything to pacers and crews. If you want to do that on your own dime, that's your business. But don't run out of soup for the last registered runners!
- Keep the litter picked up and make runners, pacers, crews and anyone else use trash receptacles. Put a box or bag about 100 yards down the course and tell the runners it is there. They should use that one or carry their trash to the next aid station. If you see a runner littering past the box, report it to us.
- Left Over Supplies: If you have extra stuff, the first thing you should do is drive to the next aid station (if not out of the way) and offer it there. After that, keep what you can use for yourself. We don't want left over food at race headquarters. Find a home for it! Bill Sublett will come by with the truck to pick up the drop bags. You should not have to go back to race headquarters unless you want to.
Extras: Activities that are nice but not required:
- Have a leader board on an easel and post the names and times of runners as they go through.
- If warm weather, sponges and tubs with water or spray bottles with water. Don't worry about this for the evening runners.
- A picnic bench and even a picnic table are great. The bench allows runners to sit without getting too comfortable.
- Provide a "special delicacy" for food. For example, one aid station at the Bull Run Run has ice cream sandwiches.
- A generator is a nice luxury but you can get plenty of light and a lot less noise from a lantern.
MOST IMPORTANT, HAVE FUN. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP. WE HOPE THAT YOU PARTICIPATE IN ANOTHER VHTRC EVENT AS A RUNNER OR HELPER!