How to support your runner.
A runner crew is one or more people, working as a team, who become the runner’s primary source of support and encouragement throughout the race.
Two to three people are ideal exclusive of pacing
One person will find it extremely difficult to manage the volume of tasks involved and the speed required at each meet-up. Driving and parking, then refilling bottles, adding ice to bandanas, finding and presenting food and drink options, clean-up and prep for next stop, quickly retrieving change of socks or other clothing or night gear, setting-up a chair, dealing with blistered feet, sunblock, massage, etc., all while motivating and moving the runner along, AND taking care of yourself so you’re in shape to help at hour 20 or 25 as you were at the start.
For runners who want pacing support, add one person. [More on pacing later.*]
The same recommendation applies for 50-mile runners as for 100-milers. Efficiency and speed recommend two people at a minimum to support the runner. Add one if pacing.
A crew of one can manage the shorter duration of the 50K, but a crew of two is still advised. Again, speed and efficiency are important so that the runner isn’t wasting time at every meet-up. One person will struggle to do it all. Add one for pacing.
Race Day schedule, time limits, and support
Starting line check-in time.
Review overall time allowed to complete race; consider interim cut-offs.
Time station locations
On-course medical support availability
Don’t forget the racer bib (with pins or race number belt)
Reflective material and blinking LED lights: For runner. For crew. Hours required.
Vehicle lights or flashers--review rule
Offering choices when crew and runner meet; use a handy garden tool-type caddy like the one shown.
Runner’s Gear: How to Get Organized; What Must Be Kept Most Accessible
(Must also allocate storage space for runner post-race items and crew baggage)
Start with everything properly organized and clean--and keep it that way. Hang a trash bag in a convenient location
Be sure the entire runner crew must know the organization.
Separate large coolers for “clean” and “dirty” (and backup supply) ice.
5-Gallon Drink cooler for easier filling of water bottles.
Plastic stack of drawers for organization.
Folding chair(s), workspace; see suggested gear list.
Garden-type tool caddy to use when meeting runner.
Being prepared and staying on top of runner needs helps to guarantee your runner's success.
For Runners and Crew
Crew choices – crew needs to eat, too!
Crew will leapfrog the runner, driving ahead to the next allowable support location. (A list of locations will be provided in the printed "Race Guide".) As runner approaches, crew should be waiting outside the vehicle--and already across the road, where necessary to meet runner. Minimize runner crossing to the vehicle; runner has enough miles to travel as is, and each stop kills time. Keep moving whenever possible while crewing, even if at a slow walk. Bottles can be exchanged, ice bandanas changed, electrolytes swallowed while making forward progress.
Tip: Use garden tool caddy when meeting runner to hold food and drink options, fresh bandana, etc., with space to quickly dump old bottle, bandana, trash, etc.
What will the runner carry—water only? Sports drink?
Fresh bottle ready at every stop.
Electrolytes: keep runner on pre-determined intake schedule; keep written record.
Salt/electrolyte tablets; re-hydration packets and bottle to mix & serve.
Tailwind or other sports drink if runner prefers.
Alternative drinks: Coke—fizzy or flat? With or without ice? Ginger Ale, Gatorade, iced tea, other.
May have to “cut” drinks, fruit juices, etc.
Generally, present small portions of food; do not overwhelm the runner with quantity.
Half an “Ensure”
Baggie with chips, ¼ or ½ sandwich, piece of fruit, or other item; keep it simple and easy.
Do not provide too many food options when meeting a runner: a tired mind has a hard time making a choice.
Solids may be less palatable; be prepared to adjust.
Nighttime options: Soup, Ramen, Mashed potatoes.
Keep handy Race Medical Team contact information (included in "Race Guide"). Call 911 in emergency.
Minimize runner sunburn; monitor exposed arms, neck, ears, legs, and back of hands.
Provide sunblock and lip protection.
Pain relief when requested; no more than every 4 hours.
Prescription meds as scheduled.
Foot care: Be prepared to handle hot spots, blisters, troubled toenails. Assist with sore muscles (massage), strains, and sprains Watch for bonking, exhaustion, and hallucination at night: suggest caffeine, "5-Hour Energy" or a similar boost or a short nap
Heat exhaustion; do not get heat stroke!
Weight gain--generally too much fluid; watch for hyponatremia—drinking too much water, causing electrolyte imbalance
Watch for hypernatremia/dehydration—not enough fluid intake; electrolyte imbalance.
Heat sensations on the head/neck
Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
Chills and/or goosebumps
Nausea and/or vomiting
If it’s working, don’t change it.
Be watchful: at night, don’t let the runner get cold.
Be prepared to switch to night gear before 7:30 pm (required hour--see rules): reflective garment and clearly visible blinking lights; headlamp, handheld, or another light source optional, but recommended.
Allow the runner to rest, rehydrate, and get fueled, as needed.
Not too many--the clock is running! Be mindful of the runner’s race plan.
Provide a chair or space to stretch out in the vehicle, if a nap is needed, but “Beware the chair!”
Keep them motivated and focused on the finish.
Decision to withdraw should be made by the runner or medical personnel, but always allow lots of time for recovery from a “low” point. Give it very careful consideration; no rushed decision to drop.
If the runner does withdraw, notify race timer or the nearest timing station.
Careful crew selection--compatibility.
Crew captain has last word.
Keep focused on the goal of supporting the runner to the finish line
You are there for your runner
Work as a team
Be willing to help in any (and every) way
Take care of yourself; stay hydrated and eat and rest
Know when not to say anything!
NEVER take your problems to the runner; any crew problems should be addressed by the crew
Admit when/if you need a break
Allow other crew person take an unscheduled break if needed. Again, be a team and remain flexible.
Don’t take it personally! The runner will inevitably be stressed, exhilarated and exhausted, all at the same time. With that pressure, some runners may be short-tempered, impatient, even rude. While such behavior is never appropriate, it does sometimes happen. Consider it as a momentary failing during the heat of battle, and try not to let it upset you.
What are the rules: e.g., at what point in the race is a pacer allowed?
Must the pacer stay behind the runner?
Is “muling” allowed—i.e., can the pacer carry supplies for the runner? (Not at KEYS100)
READ THE SECTION ON "PACERS" FOR DETAILS
In extreme heat or other difficult conditions, limit the number of miles pacing; stay healthy and fresh.
Know all race rules for pacing and crewing.
Runner--select your pacers and crew carefully
Crew and pacer--be ready…for anything
Handle blow-ups with grace; keep the runner at a distance from it.
Parking space along the race route at most KEYS100 exchange and support locations is extremely limited.
For that reason, family and friends are welcome to observe the start of their runner’s race and to greet them at the finish line. However, family and friends who are not registered as support crew or team volunteers and actively engaged in the race in those roles may NOT park at any listed "Relay Team Exchange" or "Individual Runner Support" location during the event. (Parking elsewhere to cheer them on is encouraged.) Violating this rule will result in time penalties for the team or individual runner and will be strictly enforced.