There’s plenty of race reports out there but I’ve tried to make a short list of things that will help. Skim some, ignore others but here it is-
The most important thing that everyone needs to do is read the rules-
*The mandatory gear for summiting is in the rules document.
The very next thing to do is read Diane Weavers crewing tips. Even if you are a runner it might prompt you to want something different, or to add something. This is the gold standard of advice-
You also need to know the race schedule-
Here’s a minute by minute rundown of what will happen during a 40 hour race-
and here’s a report of my crewing experience last year, this might be of interest to those crewing?
Runners, have a look at the race reports hosted on the website. I read every single one before my 2014 run- Have a look at the’Race Reports’ tab, but here is 2004-
Runners (and crew!) check out Team George’s fabulous tips for packing-
And for a bit of light entertainment check out Roger Hanney’s hilarious summary of the event-
And Graham Doke’s reply has some great advice
If you’d like to avoid some of the mistakes I made as a first timer in 2014, read this-
If you’d like to find out how Roger beat me in that very same race and got his PB as a second timer- We were together at the 100km mark, and he was nearly 7 hours ahead at the end- amazing!
(Don’t stop there, read more of his stuff, he’s a very funny and talented man)
Here is a list of tips for first time runners (anyone who has any more please let me know!)-
Runners have a look at the Pace Calculator
And there’s probably enough material to send you to sleep if you do a search –
A special note from Andy Hewat- Race Medic. These principles designed in conjunction with researchers and race medics at Western States Endurance Run- take note!
With runners and crew busy with last minute prep please take a moment to read the following information about the most likely serious medical problems that could end your race. It is long but important information.
The following information is adapted from the Western States Endurance Run website where much of the leading research has been conducted on the welfare of ultrarunners. Some of the main risks, but certainly not all of them, are listed here. These should be understood and remembered by all runners, before and during the event.
1. Renal Shutdown: Cases of renal shutdown (acute renal failure) have been reported in ultramarathons. Renal shutdown (known technically as acute kidney injury or AKI) occurs from muscle tissue injury which causes the release of the protein myoglobininto the blood. Myoglobin is cleared from the blood by the kidneys and will look brownish-coloured in the urine, but it is also a toxin to the kidneys and can cause acute vasospasm in the small arteries that supply the kidneys leading to AKI as a result of rhabdomyolysis. Appropriate training is key to prevention of AKI from rhabdomyolysis, and adequate hydration is key to both prevention and treatment of AKI, a syndrome that can be worsened by the use of NSAIDs. Ultra runners have required dialysis treatments after other races, and some have been hospitalised for several days with IV fluids to correct partial renal shutdown. While usually reversible in healthy people, AKI may cause permanent impairment of kidney function. IT IS CRUCIAL TO CONTINUE HYDRATING FOR SEVERAL DAYS FOLLOWING THE RUN OR UNTIL THE URINE IS LIGHT YELLOW AND OF NORMAL FREQUENCY. The Terrible Three: Research at WS100 has demonstrated that starting the run with a pre-existing injury, low training miles due to the injury, and masking the injury during the run using anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (nurofen), could very well earn the runner a trip to the hospital with acute renal failure. The lesson is simple; if you are determined to start the run with an injury and low training miles, do not attempt to mask the pain with a pill (any pill). Let common sense be your guide and stop when your body tells you to stop.
2. Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia: Your muscles produce tremendous amounts of heat when running up and down hill. The faster the pace, the more heat is produced. In addition to the generation of heat from metabolism, environmental heat stress can be significant during the run. Heat stroke can cause death, kidney failure and brain damage. It is important that runners be aware of the symptoms of impending heat injury. These include but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, faintness, irritability, lassitude, confusion, weakness, and rapid heart rate. Impending heat stroke may be preceded by a decrease in sweating and the appearance of goose bumps on the skin, especially over the chest. Heat stroke may progress from minimal symptoms to complete collapse in a very short period of time. A light-coloured shirt and cap, particularly if kept wet during the run, can help. Acclimatization to heat requires approximately two weeks. If signs of heat exhaustion occur, we recommend rapid cooling by applying ice to the groin, neck and armpits.
3. Risks Associated With Low Blood Sodium: Low blood sodium concentrations (hyponatremia) in ultramarathon runners have been associated with severe illness requiring hospitalisation and several deaths among participants of shorter events. Generally, those individuals who are symptomatic with hyponatremia have been overhydrating. But, hyponatremia may occur with weight gain and weight loss, so weight change is not helpful in making the diagnosis. Because of the release of stored water when you metabolize glycogen stores, you should expect to lose 3-5% of your body weight during the run to maintain appropriate hydration. It is important to note that hyponatremia may in fact worsen after the race, as unabsorbed fluid in the stomach can be rapidly absorbed once you stop exercising. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia may include bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, incoordination, dizziness and fatigue. If left untreated, hyponatremia may progress to seizures, pulmonary and cerebral oedema, coma and death. The best way to avoid developing symptomatic hyponatremia is to not overhydrate. There is no evidence that consuming additional sodium or using electrolyte-containing drinks rather than water is preventative of exercise-induced hyponatremia. If symptoms develop, one needs to assess whether they are due to overhydration. If that is the case, then stop fluid intake until you remove excess fluid through urination. If severe symptoms present, this is a medical emergency. The runner should be transported to a hospital and treated with intravenous hypertonic saline. Since the typical fluid used for intravenous hydration (referred to as normal saline) can exacerbate exercise-associated hyponatremia, point of care blood testing should be done before IV fluids are started wherever possible.
4. Snow Hazards: Snow levels in the high country vary greatly from year to year. Wear shoes with good gripping characteristics, but falling will still be a risk. Snow conditions may vary from soft and slushy to rock-hard and icy at night. Run or hike slowly and with particular care and concentration in the snow. Sun glasses are highly recommended.
5. Effects of Cold/Hypothermia: Temperatures may be below zero in the high country during the night portion of the run. Hypothermia is a potentially serious risk, especially at night since one’s energy reserves will have been depleted from 1 or 2 days of running. Hypothermia can strike very quickly, particularly when pace slows from exhaustion or injury. The initial warning signs of hypothermia often include lethargy, disorientation and confusion. The runner will feel very cold with uncontrolled shivering and may become confused, unaware of the surroundings, and may possibly be an immediate danger to themself. Staying well-nourished, adequately hydrated and appropriately clothed will help avoid hypothermia. It is important that runners have access to warm clothing through their support crews and mandatory gear on the summit section.
6. Vehicle Hazards: More than 95% of Coast to Kosci is run on roads that are not closed to vehicles. Runners and pacers must be watchful for cars on all roads.
7. Use of Drugs: It is recommended that no drugs of any kind should be taken before, during or immediately after the run (unless prescription for a specific non-race related condition). Many drugs can increase the risk of heat stroke. A partial list of problem drugs includes amphetamines, tranquilizers, NSAIDS and diuretics. There is little known about drug reactions with the stress of running more than 100 miles.
8. Rhabdomyolysis: It has been found that some degree of muscle cell death in the legs occurs from participation in a run of this length. The recovery can take several months. This seems to be a bigger problem in runners who have exerted themselves beyond their level of training. Medical analysis of blood samples taken from Western States runners shows that this occurs to some degree in all runners. (See 1. Renal Shutdown.)
9. Overuse Injuries: Obviously, innumerable overuse injuries can occur, especially in the knee and the ankle. Blisters have prevented participants from finishing.
10. Common Fatigue: One of the dangers you will encounter is fatigue. Fatigue, combined with the effects of dehydration, hypothermia, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia, sleep deprivation and other debilitating conditions can produce disorientation and irrationality.