Long ago I decided I would volunteer for a few of the Endless Summer Trail Run races, and Lebanon 7 mile was the next one on the list. I also wanted to get in some running, so I took off work just a bit early to get to Lebanon and run the course before I started my shift. I headed out from the race village with Bill, and managed to keep pace with him for about 45 seconds before I had to drop back and wish him well. I then proceeded to follow the well marked course around the park.
I stopped at the mid-way point and refilled my water bottle and the headed back into the woods. There, I came upon John and Joe who were still in the middle of marking the course. I made a joke about how I was going to get lost now that I was passing them, and after a moment of small talk I kept moving. I approached a trail intersection and blew right on through, only to stop about 100 feet down the trail and realize I wasn’t in the right spot. I turned around to backtrack and sure enough John and Joe were coming around the corner. This provided them with a great opportunity to razz me for getting lost. They pointed me on the right path and I headed out on my own again.
I realized at this point in the run that I wasn’t as familiar with this side of the park as the north side, and so I was stopping at most of the trail maps to make sure I knew which way to turn. It also didn’t help that I felt some discomfort in my bowels, and decided that I would take the most direct path back so that I could hit up a porta-pottie. I cut out about a half mile on my way back, but still managed well over 6 miles.
After regaining my composure and changing my shirt I started mingling with the other volunteers and getting ready for working the finish line. It was a ton of fun to get to see everyone like always, and it was hilarious how many people were playing Pokemon Go. I pointed out an Onix near my car to Wendy and off she went to catch it. This wasn’t the only time in the evening when I was showing people this new game, and how there were Pokemon all around us.
The race kicked off on time, and we started getting the finish area set up. Soon enough the lead runners came through in great time, and the rest of the evening became a mix of ringing a cowbell and cheering runners across and keeping up with keeping the water table filled with cups. There were a bunch of us at the finish line, and everyone was having a great time helping people as they finished their race. The weather was warm, but it wasn’t overly hot and humid, so the entire evening was very comfortable.
Soon enough the final racer crossed the finish and the task of cleaning up started. With so many wonderful volunteers we had everything loaded up fast, and I was back on the road home a little after 9pm. I love being at these events, even if I’m not running them. This time I managed to get a little run in as well, which made for a really great evening. There’s only one more Endless Summer Trail Run this year, and I’m planning on running that one. Either way, it’s a great way to spend a beautiful Minnesota night with awesome people.