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Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center

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Skunk Hollow Tavern

Detailed Info for Pacers

Hello VT 100 Pacers:

First, thank you very much again for assisting with this year's race.  We hope that it will be a rewarding experience (for all involved).  By now, most of you should be paired up with a runner to help.  If you have connected with them, then we assume that you know where you are meeting and approximately when they will arrive.  If you have yet to be paired-up, please let one of us know immediately and we will rectify the situation.

In order to ensure that everything "runs" smoothly, over the years we have developed the following list of important pre-race and race day logistical information and helpful tips.  Frequently, this email prompts valuable discussion between runner and pacer.  And, we are still looking for pacers -- it's not too late if you know of someone who could help.  Please send them to the Pacer page.

Pre-race (Preparation and Friday eve)

  • Make sure you know when your runner is arriving at the requested meeting point -- typically 10 Bear or Spirit of 76 (West Winds).  You should be there 2+ hrs early.
  • Know a pacer's job - to assist, encourage and guide your runner to a successful finish (or to their conclusion).  
    • It would be very helpful to know the aid stations/distances and if food or just liquids are available at each ("next aid station is 4 miles and it has food" for example, is great to be able to tell your runner!).  Runners will typically ask (frequently).   
    • Find out where they want you running (beside/behind/in front them).   Especially on single track trail sections, if there is a "better line" or path, then give it to them (with some runners you need to tell them to take it).  If there is a nasty rock or root that is difficult to see, then warn them.  If you are running with headlamp and handheld flashlight then shine it on "their" path, not "your" path. You are there to assist them.  You may stumble, but it's their race, not yours.  
    • Be attentive to course markers.  It is your job to keep your runner on the trail. Runners will trust you and rely on you to find the way, since they are focused on running.  Don't let them down.  We have seen pacers talking and enjoying the run, while taking their runner 2 miles in the wrong direction.  Very frustrating and embarrassing!
  • No muling you are not allowed to carry any of your runner's gear.  This is called "muling" and is prohibited by race rules.  They need to carry their own equipment, unless they decide to drop-out (DNF).  This does not, however, preclude you from giving them "the shirt off your back" if they are freezing (it happens).
  • Pre-race dinner and parking please make every attempt to attend Friday's pre-race dinner at the start/finish (directions:  http://vermont100.com/directions.html).  You have a complimentary invitation!  However, you will need a ticket.  Simply go to the start/finish and ask a volunteer for John Bassette and he will give you a ticket.  After the 4pm meeting, John will conduct an introduction meeting for all pacers and runners that can make it.  We realize that not everyone will be able to attend, but this will be the ONLY time that you will be able to meet your runner prior to the race unless you arrange it yourselves.  This location will be your parking location all weekend.  There is no pacer parking at aid stations.  A shuttle will be available to transport you to meet your runner on race day.
  • Drop bags you are welcome to have drop bags, but they must be dropped-off at the start/finish (where the pre-race dinner is) by 6pm Friday evening or they will not be delivered to their destination (see more detailed info below on drop bags).  Drop bags will be delivered back to the start/finish once the aid station closes.  Here are some helpful drop bag "do's" and "don'ts":
    • DO:

      • Choose a relatively small (grocery size or smaller) plastic/waterproof bag and think about putting contents in baggies to keep moisture out.  Note: no luggage! (seriously we have had people do this).  We will have over 200 bags in some places.
      • Uniquely identify your bag so that you can locate it readily (color, ribbons, etc.) and indicate clearly:  your name, "PACER" and your racer's number.
      • If possible, attach (tie together) your bag with your racer's bag when dropping-off on Friday evening.  This will make it much easier at aid stations where you both have bags.
      • Include in the drop bags anything that you feel you might need, including: headlight (with extra batteries), water bottle(s) (no need to be filled as liquids will be at all aid stations), full change of clothes (including shoes), long sleeve shirt & possibly warm hat (it can get chilly at night) - anything you think you might need, including toilet paper and/or wet wipes.


      • Put anything in drop bag that you cannot afford to lose.  We will make every effort to return everything to the finish line (drop bags will be returned to the finish line, but not until after each aid station closes), but mistakes can occur.
  • Running gear bring whatever you need to be completely self-sufficient between aid stations!  Bring two light sources.  We recommend one head lamp and a small flashlight to carry in your hand (both with new batteries in them).  Consider bringing a fanny pack where you can carry whatever you might need (common are food, extra t-shirt, windbreaker, water bottle, hat, etc.).  And be prepared to give it all away to your runner if needed.  You never know.  Also, as any experienced runner knows, when you combine a wet shirt with numerous hours of walking/jogging/running, aside from your calves stiffening-up your nipples might get chaffed to the point of bleeding.  Tape them or put band-aids over them!
  • Communication where we received this information at sign-up, we have attempted to match the "level of communication" between runner and pacer (e.g., put together "prefer chatty runner" with "would like a pacer who can tell stories").  You will need to figure-out how and how frequently to communicate with your runner.  If they want quiet then you should be quiet; if they want to talk about their latest adventures, then you should be interested and engaged.  Find out where they want you running (beside/behind/in front them).  Please let them know that "this is your race, how can I best help you as we run together over the next 30 miles".  Give them permission to tell you what they need!
  • Camping for those wishing to camp at the start/finish for either/both of Friday and Saturday evenings, please email us and let us know.  There are a limited number of runner and pacer camping "sites" available (no facilities).
  • Keys we have had numerous occurrences of pacers (and runners) carrying and then losing their car keys during the race.  Don't let this happen to you!  If there is nobody with you spectating, then find somewhere to leave a spare key with your car.  While we cannot guarantee absolute security, the start/finish field will have many people around all day/night.  It's better than realizing that you cannot get home after running 30 miles.

Race Day

  • Arrival arrive at the requested runner meeting point 2+ hours early and be prepared to help out at the aid station prior to your runner's arrival.  Tell the aid station person you are a VT 100 Designated Pacer and you're here to help if needed. You may also need to "step back" if there are too many helpers since some volunteers come specifically to help at the aid station.
  • Parking there is no pacer parking at the aid stations. Park only at the start/finish line. There is a shuttle available that runs from the start/finish line to 10 Bear, Spirit of 76 and Bill's.  Plan your timing accordingly.  Alternatively, volunteers and crews travel between aid stations " so just ask if anyone is going to your desired location and if you can hitch a ride.  Note: someone going to 10 Bear can drop you off at Spirit of 76 (West Winds) along the way if you know where to get out.
  • Pacer questions/support John Bassette will be the primary pacer contact and he will be at 10 Bear on Saturday, but may occasionally be back and forth to the starting line in the shuttle van.  At approximately 1:00am on Sunday morning he will be at West Winds, when 10 Bear closes.
  • For those pacing from Spirit of 76 (West Winds) - you have two choices:  1) You can take the shuttle to 10 Bear and wait and help your runner when they arrive and then take the shuttle back to Spirit of 76 (West Winds).  This gives them an encouraging boost and gives you a good idea of how they are feeling (and what their arrival time at '76 will be).  Some runners will have a drop bag there which you can help them with " and you might even jump-in and run from there (assuming they want you to and you are comfortable running the extra distance). Option 2 is to simply go to Spirit of 76 and wait. Whichever option you choose, you should check in with Zeke Zucker who is in charge of that station and see what you can do to help out. The Spirit of 76 (West Winds) runners should definitely plan on being a volunteer until your runner arrives.
  • For those pacing from 10 Bear - pitch in to help as best you can and wait for your runner to arrive.
  • Locating runners on course generally speaking, very few people will know where a runner is on the course at any given time and only certain people should be talking to the ham radio personnel. Most radio traffic is for management of injuries and DNF's, not progress/curiosity. You will be waiting for your runner and you should be about 2+ hours earlier than you expect them.  We have seen numerous pacers miss their runner because the runner was going much faster than expected (even more than 2 hours sometimes). Don't be that person!  
  • Dropping gear during the race, you may drop-off unwanted gear at any aid station.  If it is clearly marked with your name, it will be transported to the finish line, where you can retrieve it.
  • Runner discomfort/distress you may very well find yourself in a situation with a runner "in bad shape" getting disoriented, throwing up, losing control of their bowel movements, etc.  While this may not occur, expect that it will.  Most of us aren't EMT's, so do your best to ask questions and try to get them to the next aid station.  If they need to just stop and can't go any farther, then stay with your runner and tell another runner or pacer to tell the next station that your runner needs help and roughly where you are.  We will then send out a van to get both of you.  You are there to help them until they have been transferred to a van and thus have been disqualified (DNF).  In many cases, you will want to stay with your runner for a while and they may want the same.  Once you have passed the runner off to someone and don't feel that they need you with them, you are welcome to "call it a day" or pick-up another runner on the course (assuming they want a pacer/company).  Should this occur, just ask, without being pushy.   You may very well get a few "no's" before someone says "sure".   If your runner drops-out at an aid station, look for the aid station leader and they can also help to pair you up with another runner.  Then, continue on and finish with the new runner.  It is not uncommon for a pacer to have numerous different runners over the span of 30 miles.
  • At aid stations please make sure that the runner is taken care of (especially their drop bag).  If your runner wants to make a quick stop, then focus first on getting them what they need.  Be specific about what they want in their water bottle, (water? Gatorade? ice? etc.) Upon aid station approach, you might consider running ahead to retrieve their drop bag and liquid(s) before they arrive.  Do not slow them down!  If need be, once they are ready to go, encourage them to go ahead if you still need to get anything.  Then you run to catch up.
  • Don't spend too long be careful to not let a runner stay too long at an aid station.  They will get cold, think too much, and start to question themselves.  Keep them moving, fed, and hydrated.  It is not uncommon to "lose" a runner by letting them sit too long.  They can start thinking too much and then feeling achy and drop out because you did not keep them going.  Sometimes this can happen even when they are doing better than you are!
  • Take care of yourself remember that you are fully a part of this race.  You need to take care of yourself also.  You cannot help your runner if you are not healthy.  You can/should eat and hydrate at the aid stations as necessary.  And don't be a complainer about your aches and pains.  Your runner will have enough for both of you!  Don't have them slow down because of you.
  • Have fun enjoy yourself!  Don't get stressed. Enjoy the day.
  • And after the race Sunday brunch is free to you and worth staying for (though once again you will need to get a ticket from John or the retail table).  It is typical for pacers to hang-out with their runner, eat with them, and congratulate them on their success.  Afterwards, make sure you sleep if your drive home is of any distance.  We don't want any sleep deprived drivers weaving around the back roads (or highways for that matter).  Just nap for an hour or two in the car before heading out.

Many of you are experienced distance runners and pacers.  If there is anything that you feel that we have missed, please feel free to contact us and we can add your input to future communiques.

Have a great time!

John Bassette
Vermont 100 Pacer Coordinator
802-280-5977 cell


John Murphy


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