I’m not the last word in experts on this race but having crewed twice and raced once, I’ve been there for 3 out of the 10 years the race has existed.
This year many of my mates have scored a start for their first time, so I’m keen to pass on some of the hints I’ve been privileged to get from others.
Firstly, you need to download and read this document about crewing by Diane Weaver. It really does have the best information you can get about the race from a crewing angle. All I’m going to do here is fill out a couple of other things that I think are important for crews. None of this is official, just my opinion. Disregard at will!
- Your runner needs to arrange accomodation ASAP or you will miss out on getting a ground floor room at Lake Jindabyne. Imagine trying to get upstairs after running 240km? Actually there is video of me doing just that last year. Not pretty.
- You should travel to Eden on Wednesday before the race. Plenty of options, but I like staying at the Sapphire Sun caravan park. This gives you a whole day (Thursday) to get ready, fill the car up, arrange stuff and relax before the race.
- You should not travel home on the Sunday after the race. Hang around the Lake Jindabyne Hotel, sleep and eat (party just a little?) with us on Sunday night. Travel back on Monday, work on Tuesday. Maybe.
- An ideal crew number is 3. After the 100km mark you can have 1 person pacing, one sleeping and one driving. With 2 you’re going to have some very tired crew!
- Can you get a storage unit for the top of the car? Once the race starts you can stuff all of your crap in there that you don’t need for your runner
- It’s traditional for all crew to join their runner for the 18km round trip from Charlotte Pass to the top and back. But you can’t go up without a bunch of mandatory gear- it’s listed in Diane’s doc above. Get all of this together before the start of the race, put it in a bag, and know where it is. You’ll be tired when you need it.
- It’s traditional for your runner to supply running shirts for the crew- I hope to see some cool designs out there!
- Get a marine cooler to store stuff in. Having ice after 3 days on the road is brilliant.
- Get a box of water bottles- yes I know it’s not very green, but if you freeze some, the space they take can be made useful. And you can crush the bottles afterwards. Also bulk water for making sports drink etc.
- Garbage bags
- Bring a bikini. Yes, even you Mr Hairy Nuts. The day before the race there is a 7km run for the crew called Cossie to Coast. OK a swimming costume will do instead of a bikini. But a girl can dream.
There you go- nothing earth shattering here but I hope it helps. I will update this if anything else comes to mind. This advice is in addition to the usual things you’ll need like food, a sharp knife, deodorant, blankets, chairs and a crew member who is very good at organisation. Knowing where something is located is just as important as having it onboard! Oh, and a camera- don’t forget a decent camera!
For more reading, here’s a basic search. It includes a couple of guest reports from Kirrily Dear and Joe Ward, as well as my own experience crewing and running. Sometimes little things make a big difference- for me it was cherry tomatoes- those amazing little bubbles of fruit took away a lot of the flavour fatigue from the sweet things I was eating. Also here is Jane’s report from 2013.