This bridge was right below our aid station. It made me think of Garin.
When I got to the aid station, there were only 30-something runners left out on the course. They came in very sporadically. We were mile 83.7. Most of the runners weren't very interested in eating much. They mostly wanted liquids and a place to sit. Most of them had a pacer or some type of crew in the parking lot. They were changing shirts, socks, bottoms. They were taking off their headlamps and applying sunscreen. One runner even took a 90 second power nap in the chair. I saw a few people I knew and met some that I only knew by name from Facebook. Some of the runners were really talkative and some could barely put two words together.
By 10:00 we had seen every runner, except one. We kept walking out to see if could see him coming down the trail. We were slowly dismantling the aid station, making sure to not make it look like we were shutting down completely. Just making it more compact. After about an hour of waiting, I finally decided to go for a run, to see if I could find him. Here's where the smile comes in!!
I took off up the trail to see if I could find out where he was. After running for about 15 minutes, I finally saw him and his pacer coming down the trail. He had his arms up in the air and he was shuffling quite slowly. My first thought was, "well, at least he's doing the right thing by asking God to help him right now." But, come to find out, he was hoping the swelling in his hands would go away if he held his hands up above his head. Yah, he was very swollen. Too swollen to be comfortable for another 16 miles, that's for sure. I ran back to the aid station to let his crew know he was okay. Brian and I broke down the aid station after this runner finally made it back there (45 minutes it took him to shuffle down). He crawled into his wife's car and plopped down with the air conditioner blowing on him. He wasn't going to walk any further. I don't blame him. I did see him later at the finish line. He was in very good spirits. That was the longest he had ever run.
I went to the finish line, which was four miles away and hung out with Sarah (the RD) for a couple of hours. During this time, I saw maybe four runners come in. I literally cried when I saw them. They all had someone there, waiting for them. You could see them as they were coming down the switchbacks toward the finish. They had to come across a dirt parking lot in a path lined with orange cones. None of them were "running" really. I don't even know how they could be moving after that many (27+) hours. But, it was amazing. This one lady below (you will have to enlarge the picture to see her well) is 68 years old. She came down the hill and across the parking lot leaning severely to her left. After she crossed the finish line, I heard her tell Sara that she was standing up straight up until 91 miles. She also said that she had made a lot of progress in the 100-miler -- she was pain free until the 50 mile mark. She was laughing and I was laughing but wiping tears at the same time. I would say she's quite an inspiration but evidently she doesn't like being told that because she knows people only say it since she's old. Well, yah....... that's the inspiring part. LOL
Here's just a couple of shots of the ocean.
Oh, and then there's these guys. NO, they weren't part of the race but they ran by my car and they were shirtless. What can I say? I like shirtless runners!
I loved the day over at the Marin Headlands. It's such a gorgeous place. It's an hour away from me. I'm not familiar with the trails at all, but I would certainly enjoy spending some more time over there. An hour away for that kind of beauty though? Probably more than worth it!