This is a work of fiction... Or the names of people and places have been changed to protect the writer... Whatever. Maybe.
Recently I ran ran in a very big race. Big. And during that event I may have seen some things (as well as others) which has left me very upset the past three weeks and this is that story.
About 22 miles into this race and after running down a very steep and long hill, let's call it the high voltage lines, I caught up with a very skinny, blonde, female ultrarunner once I hit the pavement.
We were sort of running in the same space and I noticed a guy riding a bike with a green jacket on, a thin shell if you will and I could clearly make out the word "medical" through the material and on his riding jersey underneath.
Personally at the time I didn't think much of it except that it was different to see medical people along the course on bikes. I just thought that it was something new that the race organizers were doing. All in all a pretty good idea.
Of course race staff or not, I can't be running next or even around someone on a bike, and especially if they are so blatantly"buzzing" around a female runner. Kind of annoying. But I did think it strange when he stopped by a big turn in the road to give some things to the runner... "Well, maybe she had a headache?" Or so I thought... At any rate, I cranked it up a bit, ran through the fish farm and was on my way.
So interesting enough, I am running a long stretch of flat ass boring road heading east and lo and behold, guess what? I pass the same woman runner again and guess what? The same guy is riding next to her on the bike! Now my cynical side starts to think... geez... couldn't this loser have gotten her phone number already? Anyway, I write it off to his lost cause and I push ahead and pass them again.
Now I take a right hand turn, still on boring ass pavement and there is a red car with Utah license plates pulled off to the right hand side of the road. Bicycle boy passes me and rides ahead up to the car and opens both back doors wide open. I run past and I see all kinds of racing "stuff" inside. Also on the seat I see at least several medical type pill bottles just sitting there.
Now my radar goes UP!
I slow down a little bit... I look back and sure enough the woman runner has stopped and is circling the car and getting things out of it. I am in shock. Fortunately my vision is still better than 20/20 and looking back I can clearly see her bib number... It started with a letter and had three numbers after it... At first I thought the letter signified that she was an "employee" of the company the puts on the race and that might explain the reason why there was "special" treatment for her, especially after how the CEO finished his race last year but then it struck me... no... she was a competitor in the big series of races...
Now I am pissed...
Now things get even more weird. The red car with the Utah plates passes me and goes up the road a bit further. The bike is now on the back of the car on the bike rack, and it parks on the left hand side of the road by the turn off to to he road leading to Mt. Edgar, and the same guy is standing by the car and waiting again. Okay now I know what is going on. She is being crewed and paced by this guy with the bike and from the car! Blatantly and in broad daylight! Holy Shit!
I get to the tree stump crew access point and I find my crew and tell them what I saw. They say they saw the same thing and wondered what was going on too. Now I am really super pissed as I know that I am not seeing things!
So at the next official aid station in the woods I stop and I inform the race official/time keeper of her number and what I saw and I take off. Funny enough, about 20 miles later running down faith pass, I am talking to a dude and he even mentioned it to me! I told him that I reported it and he was very happy to hear that. But still, it pisses me off and rubs me the wrong way.
MANY hours later... in the dark... running around mile 74 or so I think on the same boring assed road as before but this time headed west my pacer and I come up behind a super skinny female runner and guess what? There is a guy riding his bike next to her! AGAIN! She is being paced in the dark where we can have pacers but by bike, which is not permitted! We pass them but when we get close to fish nest he obviously pulls off, away, and ahead of her as to not be noticed by the people around the aid station. Now my pacer and I are both fuming! If I had the presence of mind at the moment I should have had him take a photo with his cell phone. This I regret!
I tried at fish nest to find a race official to report it too but all I got were some kids who didn't really know what they were doing there it seemed. I had to take off and I had to finish the race.
Anyway this has really haunted me the past three weeks and well it just sickens me. I saw said person receive her "award" and her gushing and grandstanding in front of the crowd and I just wanted to stand up and yell something. I didn't. I kept my thoughts to myself until I could pull aside a race director that I knew and I could relate the entire story to them. They knew immediately after I described a few details, like the medical jersey, the bike, the red car, etc, that I was not bullshitting either and they knew exactly who the bike rider was.
As far as I can tell, nothing was done and it makes me sad. This person was rewarded for grossly disrespecting the race... the sport, and all of the other runners out there who honestly busted their asses to get it done. That is the part that kills me.
All that I can say is that if I see anything like this again, I will take a much stronger approach to report it, make sure it is reported, noted and dealt with.