So much for posting in a more timely manner; this summer has most definitely kept me busy.
I've decided to break from the order that I typically post in (chronological), to share the most recent adventure that I had the opportunity to be a part of. And brace yourselves, because this will be a long one. It was an extremely memorable experience, and although I'm not entirely happy with most of the images that I took (a severe lack of sleep may have played a role), I am extremely proud to share them because of how much of an accomplishment it was for my brother (or anyone for that matter).
A few weeks ago my brother, Kyle, ran in the Black Hills 100, which is a 100 mile trail race through the Black Hills. Although the Black Hills are at a lower elevation, the race actually has more elevation change than the 100 mile race in Leadville, Colorado. The race is an out and back course, starting in Sturgis, SD and ending there as well. They started off on a Friday morning, and ran through the day with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees for most of the day. I worked until noon in Denver that Friday, and then drove six hours to meet Kyle and the two other members of the crew at the halfway point in Silver City, SD.
Kyle had planned on being at Silver City by 7:30 pm, but because of the heat he, along with the entire field of racers, was well behind that pace. I spent the time waiting chatting up the women working the aid station, and then the other crew members as they began to show up. Kyle ended up getting in around 11:30 pm, and my crew duties kicked in. I mainly got him any food he wanted (which was ramen, lots of ramen), filled his water, and made sure he was doing alright. His friend Will also met us at Silver City, and served as his pacer for the last 50 miles, which made a huge difference for Kyle.
Unfortunately I forgot my speedlight, and so was stuck with using an extremely high ISO in the images below, but I had to get at least some images of him during the night.
After Silver City I drove to the Pilot Knob aid station, where I met Will's brother, Michael, who crewed with me for the rest of the race. While we sat and waited for Kyle to arrive, I set up my camera for a brief time lapse. I didn't put a soundtrack on it, and as I said, it is brief, but I think it still does a nice enough job of showing the feeling of the aid stations at night.
There was one more aid station in the dark, and then we drove to the Dalton Lake Campground to wait once again as the sun started to rise. It was such a welcome site to see the sun coming up for us crew members, and I can only imagine how it must have felt for the runners.
I had been awake since 5 am the morning before (totaling nearly 30 hours awake at this point), and although I felt pretty great through the night, I started to crash after the Dalton Lake aid station once the sun was up. I was in desperate need of some sleep, and after slinging up my hammock I managed to get a light nap in this amazing spot while we waited for Kyle.
We next saw Kyle and Will at the Elk Creek aid station, which was at mile 83. Another runner came into the aid station with some wildflowers that he picked along the trail for his crew members, which I couldn't resist documenting. One of the things that I loved about this experience was getting to know the other crew members. For the most part we saw the same people at every single spot, and by the end of the race it felt like we had known each other a lot longer than 12 hours or so.
There was an aid station prior to Elk Creek that we didn't have access to, so the distance was about twice as long as when we normally saw the runners. This was the first aid station that Kyle started to show real signs of fatigue, and the first time I was even slightly concerned. His pacer was still full of energy however, and was excellent at keeping Kyle moving.
The next aid station was the last before the finish, and like at Elk Creek, there was a station in between where we weren't able to see him. His wife and twin boys were at the last aid station as well, and as soon as Kyle saw them he visibly perked up. The boys saw him a ways off, and were so excited that they ran out to meet him!
We then drove to the finish in Sturgis and waited for Kyle and Will to arrive. My nephews were loving my camera while we waited; their new (at least new to me) thing to do is to make silly faces constantly while I take millions of pictures, and they loved getting to press the shutter as well.
Kyle and Will came running in to the finish just before 3:00 pm on Saturday. We found out later that he managed to finish in 28:48:33, and was 9th place overall! It was so exciting to see him finish the race, and to finish it running no less.
Crewing for this race was one of the coolest experiences I have had. Seeing my brother accomplish something so major, and getting to help him through that process in even a small way was an incredibly impactful and unforgettable experience.
And with that, I will finally wrap things up. Hopefully some of you stuck through it all. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and don't forget to share via the links below!