Saturday, September 16, 2023

Quicksilver Half Marathon 2023: pictures from the aid station, and New Almaden

For a big change and an opportunity to give back to my Quicksilver Club and our local trail community, I didn't race today! I volunteered to help out at the Prospect aid station which half marathon runners were visiting twice at about 6.5 and 10.5 miles.

We were 4 for 40 runners so it wasn't super busy, especially given the spread of the runners over about 2 hours. Great opportunity to catch-up with my fellow Striders, Peggy and Peter, and clubmate, Jim. Guess what we talked the most about? Spot on, running! Peggy and Peter are heading to the Grand Canyon in a few weeks, and Jim to Rio del Lago for his first 100-miler in November. And they learned a few things about my upcoming 153-mile Spartathlon around the corner un exactly 2 weeks now!

While Jim drove his SUV to haul the aid station supplies, Peggy, Peter and I ran from the Hacienda entrance, a nice 4-mile warm-up. Knowing that the aid station was set on a very exposed location, I had planned on a hot morning. Well, we didn't see the sun but remained in the misty fog all morning, yikes! With all the heat training I got for Greece, that made for a chilly shift.

We formed an outstanding and efficient crew: Peter handled the refills, Peggy the gestures to make sure the runners were not missing the incoming hairpin turn up the trail, Jim diligently kept records of every runner's split for both their passages through the station and I took pictures of almost all the runners! I had brought my point and shoot Canon with a 40x zoom but forgot I had left it on Manual mode after photographing the Super Blue Moon last month, oops!

At least I was able to sneak this cool shot of the Mockingbird parking lot from afar. Several runners appreciated seeing the end of the tunnel from our aid station! The power of a 40x zoom, a cool and useful feature for safaris for instance.

Our Quicksilver teammate Sylvie was the first runner to fly through the station and I could say that her speed was the reason of the blurriness of her pictures but, no, just my bad, and sorry Sylvie! I even could only catch your back on the second passage because we were still taking care of incoming runners. Congrats on your overall win!

Anyway, after a few tries, I switched to shooting with my iPhone 13 mini, that did the trick with the low light. Not much bokeh, enjoy the free pictures in this Google photo album, as I enjoy them when on the other side of the line! ;-) Oh, and please download those you want to keep, I may discard that album at some point to save on cloud storage/cost.

Once the last runner went through, we dismantled the station and I ran the last 2.5 miles to the finish, passing the last 2 runners. And getting there much before Jim who drove the supplies to the Mockingbird finish area. With almost 20 volunteers, everything was packed back in the rental truck by noon, yeah! Well, still some post-race cleaning and sorting work for Stuart...

Special thanks and kudos to our Race Director, Laura, our Club President, Stuart and our Volunteer Coordinator, Bob. Such a hard work to keep this Club tradition running, even for less than 100 runners (we are so rich with races in the Bay Area, it's border overwhelming...).

Very special wishes to Marc, our past Team Captain and today's birthday boy! Great to see you running today, Marc, albeit learning this still hurts...

I ran back to my car at Hacienda by the Almaden Road, for a total of 9.4 miles. I had dinner once at the famous French restaurant La ForĂȘt, but never really took the time to visit New Almaden. Such a key piece of our local history, dating back to the first half of the 19th century, it was worth stopping at quite a few plaques on the side of the road. See the end of the photo album for more pictures, especially for those reading from our of town. For the Bay Area folks, make a point to visit this gem of California's mining history!


Anonymous said...

Great catching up with you today Jean. Peter

Anonymous said...

So grateful for the encouragement from Jean and the whole crew at the 2023 Quicksilver challenge! Motivates me to keep going and trying! — Georgios

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