Many hands make light work

Many hands make light work

Jake and Ellen aren’t just talkers, but doers (and a blast to work with!)  Photo credit:    Gregory T Photography LLC

Jake and Ellen aren’t just talkers, but doers (and a blast to work with!) Photo credit: Gregory T Photography LLC

Being not only the first year of the IRONBULL Ultra Trail but the first IRONBULL event period, I expected to have a “oh no” moment (or several) on race day. Not only was it my first time organizing any race, but the first for both of our race directors. But the “oh no” moment never came. This is a testament of months of planning, teamwork, and communication starting with our race directors, Ellen Humberston and Jake Daul.

I knew from the beginning we couldn’t have had better race directors. Jake and Ellen’s passion for the sport, drive, and thoroughness was evident at our first race planning meeting. They were out in the snow (many times) planning the course, they spent all day Friday marking the course including leaf blowing miles of trails, they even made trail just for the race!

Pete and Jim made the two hour drive twice to take part in training runs Jake and Ellen led. And it paid off!  Photo credit:    Gregory T Photography LLC

Pete and Jim made the two hour drive twice to take part in training runs Jake and Ellen led. And it paid off! Photo credit: Gregory T Photography LLC

On top of that, they organized two training runs that drew a dozen runners each time -where half made a 1.5-2.0 hr drive! And they didn’t just show up for the training runs either (like I did) but dropped off bananas and water on the course and had cold Gatorade for runners at the end. Pete and Jim from Kewaunee found the first training run so great they made the drive for the second training run. When I asked if was worth the drive one said, “If I hadn’t come to the training run I probably would have DNF’d (did not finish)!” Well Pete and Jim finished the 50k together in 8:36!

People (particularly my husband) know that I have high (often unattainable standards) but Jake and Ellen just continually blow me away.

The event wouldn’t be possible for all our supporters including volunteers - many who were up hours before sunrise!  Photo credit:    Gregory T Photography LLC

The event wouldn’t be possible for all our supporters including volunteers - many who were up hours before sunrise! Photo credit: Gregory T Photography LLC

But it wasn’t just the race directors that pulled together on race day. We had forty dedicated volunteers that came out during a miserable, wet day to support the race. It was surreal that everything was handled as I set up part of the course then waited to award finisher medals at the finish line. In fact, I knew everything was so well covered, I never saw a runner until our first finisher arrived to the 400 Block!

It was amazing to see all the smiling racers and families on the 400 Block. Now, I’m blessed to hear complements. Here’s a sampling of notes we received which include the first person to cross the finish line to back of the packers to volunteers:

“Thanks to you and the team for organizing this wonderful event. The event was flawless-well organized, volunteers were very friendly, cops were supportive in crossing highway.”

“Thank you for the amazing coordination of the IRONBULL organization. I look forward to being a part of future events.”

“I truly enjoyed my volunteer experience this weekend. It was both motivating to see the runners pushing themselves in such grueling conditions, and to be able to provide them with any resources they may have needed throughout the races.”

“I wanted to tell your organization how impressed I was with my experience and your race. Your team was professional and organized. The race was well run, from the course markings to the aid stations to the after party. Thank you for the opportunity to run on your beautiful course.”

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So now the bar has been set for IRONBULL events. Please consider joining us as a spectator, volunteer, or racer at a future IRONBULL event.