I’ve been reading race reports of 50+ races and last night I read one that was filled with ‘do not do this’ kinds of events. The runner started out well but then a litany of things went wrong leading to a decision about 2/3rds of the way of whether to even try to finish or not. Much less placing like the runner had planned on at the start of the race.
Several runners apparently had to be hauled off by emergency services due to the heat and dehydration so that’s not a great thing.
- Went out too fast
- Didnt use the aid stations
- Didn’t carry enough water (temps were 90’s)
- Didn’t carry fuel
- Missed route markers
- Race had no water or ice at the finish line
Obviously the runner had no say in that there wasn’t any water or ice at the finish area but the other things were something he could have changed.
My very first 25K is where I learned do not trust aid stations being there. There was supposed to be an aid station around mile 3 / 12. Temps weren’t super high but they weren’t cold either. As a result there was a 6 mile stretch between the last aid station and the finish.
6 miles doesn’t seem like that much. If you had planned on that. As a result I wasn’t hydrating properly and ended up overall pretty severely dehydrated and a case of rhabdo.
It was that race that showed me that always plan for issues. In the race above the runner got lost and ended up with an extra 40 minutes or so of trek and then had to take a bit of a lie down which added even more time before he was able to get water.
In a local race put on by our zoo, this was driven home to me again. We ran it carrying just a small flip bottle (10 ozs) assuming the aid stations would be there. We came back around on the second loop of a section and they’d already packed up that aid station. And we were still well in front to mid pack, not trailing the pack by hours.
So now, I always carry at least two bottles for any race longer than 5k. For a long run >20k I always carry a bladder although I may not fill it at first. But I have it just in case.
I think the race report drives home the fact that some lessons are hard learned. For me it took two instances of missing aid stations, a case of rhabdo, a dangerous level of dehydration that I now don’t assume everything is going to go smoothly at a race or in a run.
A little preparation can make the difference between a finish and a did not finish, it can make the difference between a back pack finish and front pack finish.