Bull riders hold on for eight seconds to earn a belt buckle. My husband ran for 31 hours and 19 minutes to earn his 100-mile endurance run finisher buckle. This wasn’t my race, but I want to share a recap of the experience from running, volunteering, and pacing for the Aravaipa Coldwater Desert Trail Runner Series in Goodyear Arizona, near Phoenix.
The Coldwater Rumble offered a variety of races to challenge all levels of endurance. The morning started with the 100 mile run at 7 a.m. followed by a 52 mile, 52 km, 20 mile, 20 km and a 4 mile run. Aravaipa had something to meet the needs and desires of every trail running ability along the desert trails in Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Each runner could be identified by the color of race bib they were wearing. It was important to follow the proper posted colored sign!
I chose to run the 4 mile race knowing that within the following 24 hours I would be pacing my husband on his final 20 mile loop. The trails didn’t have the most intense inclines, but very technical terrain. A wide variety of typical desert trail running surfaces including crushed granite single track, rocks, boulders, sandy washes, and dry wash beds ensured that you watch your footing. It also is what added to the beauty of the course. This trail running experience left me with a desire to go out and run more miles off the pavement.
Each of the aid stations on the trail was like an oasis to meet runner needs. They stood out in the beauty of the desert. Off in the distance you could see the peak of the white tent top sticking out letting you know the goal point of your location. All of them were absolutely loaded with any need a runner might have along the trail. I found a new favorite… Nutter Butter Cookies topped with Nutella. It was the perfect mix to give an energy boost.
The main “Rumble Headquarters” offered a set support area for runners at the start/finish line. It included a main aid station, merchandise table, timing chip checkpoint, amazingingly yummy Freak Brothers Pizza, and a tent area for the crew and runners to sleep.
The Aravaipa event was extremely well organized. While volunteering, I got to meet some really cool trail runners who shared insights. As a runner, it was an excellent opportunity to volunteer. It was an eye opening experience to be able to sit on the other end of the table and see a different view. I spent a shift taking photos of runners, giving tumbler glasses to the race finishers. The absolute kindness of everyone at the event really stood out. Cheers and words of encouragement from other runners and spectators was endless.
At the end of each loop I met my husband and his friend Chris to ensure they had everything they needed to continue. Each twenty mile loop they reloaded with nutrition, grabbed changes of clothes, and made sure that the batteries were fresh in the headlamps. My nervousness grew each loop waiting for them to come in. I was unbelievably impressed each time with their ability to keep going strong.
When the next morning came, I was looking forward to pacing the final 20 mile loop. I was absolutely amazed by how much endurance both of them had to keep running. I felt like moaning about the trail at about mile 15, but quickly bit my tongue knowing my husband was comparatively on mile 95. I had no right to whine.
The trails were absolutely perfectly marked. I knew to always watch for the ribbon and the signage. While volunteering I learned about the importance of the reflective tags. The reflective tabs are double sided are posted along the trail. They ensure runners stay on the right path at night.
This trail run experience was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a runner. I’m looking forward to more trail adventures with my crazy milage endurance running hubby in the future!