Trans America Footrace "LANY11" from Los Angeles (CA) to New York City (NJ) at 70 days 3200 miles, USA
|<Pre race> <1><2><3><4><5><6><7><8><9><10><11><12><13><14><15><16><17><18><19><20><21><22><23><24><25><26><27><28><29><30><31><32><33><34><35><36><37><38><39><40><41><42><43><44><45><46><47><48><49><50><51><52><53><54><55><56><57><58><59><60><61><62><63><64><65><66><67><68><69><70> <Past race>|
Since 1928 it was the ninth edition. It is the “father” of stage running – the Trans America (TransAm). After 1928, 1929, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2002 and 2004 there will be a new edition after 6 years in 2011. Laure and Serge Girard will set it up. People talked already about it during the Trans-Europe-Footrace 2009 (TEFR09).
Since October 2010 the pre registration was opened. At that time there were 35 participants (6 female, 29 male) coming from 12 nations. Participants, because there is also Peter Bartel the kickbiker. He also finished TEFR09. When the pre registration got official and people had to pay the first amount of money the amount of registered people sunk. It showed up already there that there will be much less starters when the registration stops in 03/19/2011 as we thought. There was also the time people had to worry that the event took place, because of too less starters.
In the afternoon of 03/19 arrived an email with 20 participants (3 female, 17 male). On the list are Peter Bartel on his Sideboard and Anneke Kuiper on her bike. Also she took place at the TEFR09 as a supporter on bike. For two runners a start is not sure, because they have an injury right now. It will still be a surprise how many will be at the starting line. We hope that it will be more participants instead of less.
Main reason for jump off of the pre registered is the high amount of costs. Besides the 6500$ entry fee runners had to take care for the accommodation. It is possible to join the organisation and take the same accommodation. But the costs are still there. Added to this costs there will be expenses for food (e.g. snack at the afternoon, dinner…) and other small things people need. Only the breakfast and the food on the course are included at the entry fee. Also taking a support team during the first two weeks is a must. Maximum two runners are allowed to take one support crew. The team is not offered by the organisation of cause. People had to take care for a crew themselves.
This brings up some problems as well. Lets take the case you found somebody willing to support you. So he has to have the time and immolate his vacation. Also he should be physical and mentally able to handle the support. Not only the runner has to handle a lot of stress. Also the supporter has a lot of work and got a lot pressure.
People think they can join to have a nice vacation are wrong. As well as the runner he has to get up early. He has to help to put everything into the car. Also he has to do preparations for the aid stations. After the start he has to drive as fast as possible to the first aid station. So it makes sence to mark the route already at the map or put in the important points into the navigation system. When he arrived there he had to prepare everything. So the runner does not loose any time and gets all he needs. This is not an easy job. When runners do not get, what they wanted from heart, sometimes they are not staying quiet and rational.
People did not support a runner yet thinks it is easy. But if the runner wants to get coke and banana five minutes ago, so he changed his mind to beer and fries now. And only that, nothing else. Of cause every supporter has prepared that as well! When the runner continued running the supporter has to clean up quickly. He has to go to the next aid station. If possible he should do some shopping and getting gas between. At the next aid station – of cause, the same story. When the runner has arrived he wants to get some food of cause. Also he wants to get to the accommodation to get a shower. When the runner takes some rest after the supporter has to continue working. Shopping (if not done by now), planning the root for the following day, prepare food, check for accommodation… But enough about that. Let`s say we do have such a person and it helps you out of friendship and ideology without demanding any extra money. So it is a minimum to take care of his costs. These cost for food, accommodation and transportation adding to our costs. Also he needs to get from one to the other point. So it is a must to rent a car. With a car they come up costs for gas, toll and parking fees. There is normally no all around service as Ingo offers (organizer of TEFR, German race, Spree race) at such races.
Serge and his team orient close to the system of the passed TransAms and Trans Australia. Even they give the whole race a new name – LANY11, which stands for Los Angeles New York 2011, but still they try to follow the route of 1928 as close as possible. What does it mean for the runners? At 06/19/2011 at Los Angeles, Huntington Beach there is the start. In 70 days we will transit Californian, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey till we reach New York City.
In middle there are 74km per day to end up with 3200 miles (~5200km). The biggest challenges are the Rocky Mountains and the Mojave dessert. As it is gods this two areas are in the west of USA. So they are in the beginning of the race. One of the reasons there is a must of a support team during the first two races. To climatic conditions (cold at the hills, warm at the dessert) and the area conditions (up hill, down hill) there is the problem of less population at these areas. So the next accommodation can be more than 50km away. Also there are almost no shops at these areas. In sum, a good planning is a must. Besides 1928 runners do not have to do any extra amusements as they are described at the book “Trans America” from Trom McNab.
Peter and I got together to solve these problems and reduce the costs for support. As the slogan “shared suffering is half suffering”. We wrote to several companies and asked them to support us (material and financial). Three companies gave us a positive Feedback and supporting us with material. Already now I want to thank Wrightsock, Newline and Sebamed. But the main costs as entry fee, fly, car, accommodation and food remain. After long discussions and calculations we decided to have full time support. To find a supporter for a period of two weeks is difficult. We had two volunteers for that. Russell Secker who done the TEFR himself and Bernd Karkossa a good Friend of Peter. Even we decided to take June Ryu, we want to thank them for their willingness. June is able to stay with us the whole time. It is not an easy job, but she already had collect experience at TEFR. So our team is complete and we can start to do the final preparations. It means booking flights, renting car, check for hotels, gas stations, restaurants and shops (especially at less populated areas)…
Sometimes wishes can get true. Resently there was a mail, that there is another starter. Serge Girard himself will start at 06/19 at Los Angeles. But who is taking care for the organisation? It was written, that his wife Laure take the position of main organisator. Besides the "good" news there was an advice not to book all accomodations yet. The reason is, that the course is not clear completely yet. Latest 06/17 at the first meeting there should be a road book.
About 1,5 month till the start. While I heard from some runners that they still have not fixed their supporter, I can already 'relax'. The flights for Peter, June and me are booked. The car is rented. The accommodations for the first two weeks are arranged. There is a list from the organisation with an accommodation (per stage). Besides that list we have our own. For every stage we have multiple Hotels or Motels with distance to the finish and costs for two and three person. This list was also a basis for our calculation of costs. That these costs will lower because of additional sponsors is not really realistic. But never loose the hope. Now we have to plan what to take with us to the USA and what to buy locally. And the rest of the time should be used for some training kilometres.
05/11/2011 at the evening there was arriving the last newsletter of Laure. The bad news are that some more runners cancelled the race. Only 17 participants (including one kickboard driver and one biker) will start in Los Angeles/Huntington Beach. And even now it is not sure if one more runner will cancel. It is amazing that from 40 pre entries (stand November 2010) only 17 have been left. Most of them had problems to pay all of it. We hope that there will be not many drop outs during the race.
The positive news of the mail is that the road book is finished. The book includes a list of all participants and the organisation. The course is shown graphical and in table style. Also there is a small history about the previous TransAms with results. And in the end there is the rules, the penalty times and recommendations. Markus Müller which was mainly responsible for the road book did a very good job. Besides the road book we also received a media folder. Even the road book was finished we where told not to book all the accommodations. It seems they still count on changes. We will get the next news at 06/17 at Huntington Beach at the pre race briefing. In three weeks we know more.
While Markus Müller using his „home advantage“ and stays a few days before the start of the race at the hot area of Nevada, I was doing an relaxing wander weekend at Austria. Next to the Hungarian and Slovenian boarder there was a new IVV marathon. There where a walk in Hungary and Slovenia as well. Both are new walking countries for me. Besides good food there was also a thermal bath. So we could recover after the walk.
A big surprise was another mail from Laure at 11/06. The organisation had changed the stages 30 till 45. Main reason was the bad weather and tornados, which had been at the US a few weeks ago.
Here our route should pass Joplin, Missouri:
Attached was an update for the roadbook. Also it was mentioned that such bad weather can have consequences for the race. There is the possibility that stages are cancelled or the race will be stopped. Most important will be the safety of the runners. Of cause this messenger is not very motivation, but understandable.
Even of these extreme situations, which can happen my motivation and antisipation will not be lower. Of cause the planning is always based on the worst case, but luckily most time these plans can be dismiss. Cause of that I will start now with a lot of enthusiasm to the USA. Our supporter June is already sitting at the plane to the US. I will leave tonight from Nuremberg via Amsterdam to Los Angeles. My arrival is scheduled for Wendesday (06/16) noon. Peter will arrive on Thursday 06/16.
During the time till our pre race meeting on Friday 06/17 we have to do some shopping. Besides food we also need a navigation system and a cooling box. But it should take to much time. So we can use the rest of the time for sightseeing. How to do that? Well, quiet simple! Just do some year around walks of the IVV. There are more than 1300 trails at the US. The information at the internet are well updated. So you already know which points of few you will pass.
Yesterday evening I flew from Nuremberg to Amsterdam. There I took a flight to Los Angeles in the morning. Already there I met some other runners from the netherlands Anneke Kuiper, Jenny de Groot and their supporters. I was surprised to get quiet fast through the security check at the USA. So I had to wait till June arrived to pick me up. We took the bus to get to National Cars. There we picked up our van. And as an old promotion slogan says:
Well, actually I should say our, alt least for the car and supporter. Fun has to be there. Taking the car we went towards accommodation. Now we had to do our shopping list. Nothing bit, but still some important basics had to be done. The weather is not bad so far. About 70F and cloudy. Shure it would be better if it is warmer, because of the acclimatisation. Bust better than rain.
The big day comes closer and closer. Originally the pre race meeting was scheduled on Saturday 06/18, but already months ago they changed it to Friday. Today it was the day. At 3pm runners, supporters and organization (orga) came together to talk about all details. On the meeting schedule was:
After Laure had welcomed everybody, she was presenting the organization-Team. There are four more helpers (David, Anne, Bertrand and René) with three cars. After the helpers the runners where presenting themselves. The American woman is definitely not starting. So there are 14 runners (included one female), one female biker and one kickboard driver. In total there are 16 participants. They are from six or rather seven countries. Well, you can argue, if you calculate Markus Müller as an American or a German representative. AT the road book he is first called as a German, so I will hold on that. Most participants introduce themselves. But there are also some, which do not speak any English. They where interpreted.
Next was a special guest. The American Dave Warady had won the TransAm in 1992. He spoke some words to us and talked about his adventure. He gave us some advice and told about his experiences. The most important points where:
After the speech we went trough the race rules. The most important points where commented. After this meeting there will not be any more meetings. All runners had to be at the start line 15 minutes before the start. So all the news will be told at these prestage meeting. Also there is only a window of 10 minutes after the start. Everybody is not presented then will be out of the race, because he can not sign for the stage anymore. Also it was mentioned that there are no fix aid stations. There are two organization cars driving for and backward all the time. They will support out of the car. Only four runners will be without crew after Flagstaff. Up till this point it is a must to have a supporter. To speak “one language” we decided to give any information in metric numbers. There will be a road sheet all day. It will be handed out at the finish of the previous stage. On the sheet is the phone number of Laure and the cutoff time. The cutoff time is based on a minimum of 5.7km/h (3.5miles/hour). It will be rounded up to the next quarter of an hour. People thinking Trans-Europe-Footrace was more difficult are wrong. There are 6.7km/h (4.2miles/hour) to do, but the course was marked. At the TransAm will be a marking only at the trails. It will be made out of color, flour and bands. Even the most runners have supporters it is a must taking 1,5l fluid with you. Also everybody has to carry the bib, the stage sheet and 10$. At bad weather conditions runners had to wear a reflection vest and a light. Also everybody should carry a mobile. If there are circumstances (tornado, fire…) for stopping the stage earlier, everybody should be available by mobile. It is not just a strange idea, as the news shows during the last month and days. There where tornados some weeks ago and right now there are fires in Arizona. We will pass this area with only 120km distance. But they can change quickly. Next big point on the list of rules is the accommodations. There where a lot information before the race. Some of the stages will not have any motel close by. So the runners have to sleep at a gym or at the tent.
After all the rules Laure gave more information about the first two stages. At the first day there will be some kilometers on a biking track. The support crews will have a hard time to support at these parts. At the second day there will be a small trail part. Laure called it the “Indiana Jones trail”. But it had to been there, otherwise there is no way without the highway. And the highway is not an option to run on!
After we talked about the important things there was a vote for the speaker of the runners. He should be there to represent the runners, if important decisions have to been made. I was voted. If I will be drop out Markus Müller or Makoto Kushita will take my job.
At the end of the meeting every runner had to pass three stations. We get the food and drinks (will be filled every five days), the bibs and some more paper stuff. There is one more thing to say about the bib. Everybody get 10 of them. The overall leader will get a yellow bib. So he will be easy to see, like during the Tour-De-France.
Only one more day, but there are already the first problems. Already Friday evening I received an email from Laure. She told me, that we have to have an emergency meeting, because of the Italian Italo Orru. It showed up, that he had now support crew with him. According to the rules every runner has to have a crew till Flagstaff (stage 13). A maximum of two runners can share one supporter. After a long discussion everybody can breathe a sign of relief. The Japanese runners offered him support. So there was not the first DNF (Did not finish) already before the start.
The rest of the day we spent to do some shopping and change our car. Luckily the oil change light already showed up. We had driven to a renting station because Peter had to be signed in as a driver as well. But they did not have any van left. So they send us to the next station. They told us everything will be already in the system and they will have a car. Well, in their mind maybe. Never mind! In the end we got another van. When we changed the car it showed up, that they did a mistake about the returning station. But after some calls also that was fixed.
After we had dinner we talked about the first stage. Then we put everything we did not need at the next morning to the car. When we went to bed the clock already showed 9:30pm.