One of the things I love about ultras is how complete strangers will do so much for you, help you in so many ways.
I remember during the Dick Collins 50 Miler, running with a fifty-something guy who offered me heaps of love advice. And when I was torn over personal problems, Ray listening to me for hours in New Paltz.
I remember getting sick in my first 50 miler, Vermont 50 Miler, and having a complete stranger seeing if she had Immodium or Pepcid to help me, and counseling me on drinking ginger ale and eating animals crackers.
A complete stranger during the Miwok 100k, upon hearing me cry at how many more miles and the pain I was in/asthma troubles, offered to throw her race and walk the last four miles with me. And Stan Jensen hugged me as I bawled into his arms (not knowing it was the infamous Stan Jensen!)
During Umstead 2010, lots of people helped me after I ate too many M&Ms...tums, ginger ale...
And the pacers...they never give up. They won't let you give up. At Javelina Jundred, Jon humoured my hallucinations, looked for shooting starts w/ me. Jenn Shelton (yes, that one) lent me her expensive, fantastic headlamp when I was on the verge of tripping on the way back to the main aid station.
This year, at Umstead, the crews of other runners helped me because I had no crew. They got me cups of deliciously watery Gatorade, filled my water bottle with water. My pacer was amazing - he literally dragged me the last 12.5 miles, pushing me when I wanted to collapse and cry.
And at mile 94.5, at the final aid station, I couldn't stop shivering. Blankets. Heat lamp. Soup. Hot cocoa. Time. And then - a volunteer gave me a t-shirt. Another gave me a pair of running tights. Another runner with an overstuffed drop bag lent me a running shirt.
All these strangers...no idea who they are. I may never see them again. But they contributed to my race, a race I couldn't have finished otherwise.
I know I've helped others. But still - I feel so grateful for all of these beautiful amazing helpful people. So - thank you. I never would be where I am without you. Thank you all.