My association with La Ultra – The High goes back a few years before I started crewing for the race and La Ultra has been in some ways instrumental in getting me re-started on running after a long gap post school life. Crewing at La Ultra has given me a whole new perspective to many aspects of life. It has given me the opportunity to be up close with some of the toughest humans in the sport of ultra-running, It has given me the opportunity to learn so much from their experience and helped me become a better runner. It taught me about the hard work that has gone in for these super humans to get this far and the sheer will power that keeps them going for hundreds of KMs despite at time suffering through issues that cause most mortals to hit the bed. On the other hand this experience has given me the opportunity to learn new skills, gain new knowledge and apply them while assisting these athletes. It has given me knowledge about survival in extreme conditions, nuances of high altitude, about the human body and identifying potential issues with an athlete that they sometimes may not be in a position to identify.
As a crew member we play several roles at the same time, we are almost always the food supply, sometimes we are also the medical help an athlete needs, sometimes the pep talk that they are looking for, sometimes the referee that has to give them the bad news, sometimes the entertainment that they crave, sometimes the pacer to give them the momentum and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. Playing all these different roles has taught me a lot, it has taught me to be more planned, more focused, more aware of the athletes, the environment and myself, more determined at the same time more humble. Crewing at La Ultra is truly an enriching and humbling experience.
“Exhilarating, Exhausting and an Experience of a lifetime, all of this happening simultaneously. This race was unfathomable in my head when I decided to crew, no wonder we call it making the impossible – possible. If running this race needs a certain level of madness, being in the crew needs patience, calmness and unrelenting faith most of all. One does not work without the other. There is so much to learn and understand, from the place, the racers, the fellow crew members and how everything then works, when put together, is astounding!”
To be crew at La Ultra Means that you are the ears, the eyes and the mind of the runner. The exhaustion and fatigue takes over the racer and this is where you need to take over with the race plan.
It’s an unreal experience. Apart from being in a amazing part of the world, the La Ultra community is one that truly helps each other. The race director and team were so helpful they want to see everyone succeed and finish the race. Apart from learning a lot about the runner you learn a lot about your self. You learn to act quickly if the runner is unwell, you learn to act as a team member working with people that may not be fluent in English, you learn to be selfless – even when you are tired and it’s 2 am but the runner needs a pacer you are it, you learn what you can do when you are put out of your comfort zone, even as a pit crew you are pushed mentally and physically.The success of the runner depends on the crew just as much as the runner. You need to anticipate and be ready with what the racers is going to need in terms of food, fluids, electrolytes, and gear. You need to know how fast your racer is tracking, if they are slower than their usual pace you need to be aware in case something has happened. Doing this all whilst looking after your own well being. They rely on you.
Nitin Chadha & Ranjana Deopa
We had an opportunity to be a part of the crew team for La Ultra 2015 edition.
If you’re a runner, then being a part of the La Ultra crew team is a must To-Do thing in your journey as a runner. Besides, the fact that you get to meet so many inspirational personalities and the majestic beauty of Ladakh, we promise it will be change your perspective of human ability. Will, grit, determination, mind over body, planning & executing race strategy – these are just some of the many aspects that you see unfold right in front of you.
An experience which is surely going to impact you in many positive ways. All, in all, the team behind La Ultra, the participants from different cultures, abilities and stories, are just some of the added perks during the amazing race.