How to Be an Effective Crew Member - Page 3When the Going Gets Tough
It’s almost a given. There is going to be at least one ugly period during an ultramarathon. “Your crew needs to understand what you are going through and be able to ease you along through rough patches,” says Moehl. “A crew member with an uber-positive attitude doesn’t even listen when the runner starts whining or complaining. At Western States last year [Moehl finished second], even if I looked like death, my crew made me feel like a rock star leaving every single aid station.”
“A motherly type is also key for me,” says Chatfield. “It comforts me knowing there is a motherly persona in the mix.”
Crosby-Helms sums it up, “Runners can be cranky and needy, and are by definition selfish.”
Beyond the Finish Line
Even if you employ Crosby-Helms’ 24-Hours of Absolution Rule, you have a responsibility to your crew. Treat them well before and after the race.
Halekas stresses, “Thank them profusely. Treat them to dinner. Buy them presents. Being a crew person is thankless work, but the right crew can save you minutes or even hours in a race.”
Crewing, like ultrarunning itself, is tough. As with an ultramarathon, there will be those who question why anyone would ever want to be part of a crew. But that mindset overlooks the truth of the matter. As a crew member, you are contributing to the success of a fellow human being. His success is your success. You accomplish a goal—where it be winning or just finishing—together.
Otherwise, why would an elite like Krissy Moehl be content on “the sidelines” of an event like the Western States 100? Moehl doesn’t see it as a burden but as an opportunity. “I get to crew for Devon at Western this year for the first time. It is going to be awesome.”
Kevin Patrick is a runner and triathlete. His company, Endurance Planet (www.enduranceplanet.com), produces daily podcasts on endurance sports.
This article was originally published in our August 2010 issue.