Crew Notes

Support Crews are allowed at all Crew Stops bar Lord Brandon’s Cottage.

Any food/drink provided at the Crew Stops, or elsewhere along the route, is due to the kindness of the locals and is not for the Crews, it is for the athletes.

The Start is at Killarney Racecourse, Killarney (Ultra/UltraRelay), Inny Tavern, Dromid, Waterville (UltraNite) and Sneem Community Centre (UltraLite). Finish is at The Killarney Racecourse.

The Climbers Inn, Glencar has very limited car parking facilities and Friday is Pension Day so I am asking all Support Crews to keep this in mind (all of the car park will be kept for our elderly locals). The road west of The Climbers Inn is long and straight so park there instead of in the car park. Please do not drive to The Climbers Inn until just before your athlete is due. The Climbers Inn will be open for teas, coffees etc. (066 976 0101) on Friday morning.

The Waterville Crew Stop is in Waterville Community Centre. The Lobster Bar serves great food but booking is essential (066 947 4629).

The Crew Stop in Sneem is now at the Tourist Info Office, North Square for the Ultra/UltraNite or Sneem Community Centre if the weather is inclement. There are some lovely cafes in Sneem, very close to the Start of the UltraLite for crews on Saturday morning and The Hungry Knight chipper for Friday night and early Saturday morning.

I now have extra space at the Templenoe Crew Stop. Templenoe GAA are allowing us to use their GAA pitch area at the end of the road where the graveyard is. There is loads of parking here and all support crews are asked to wait here until their athlete is approaching the Crew Stop and then they can go up to the Crew Stop. The marshals here will direct your crew to this additional car parking space. There is also a car park down at the sea. You can pick up your athlete at the graveyard car park and drive down to either car parks if you wish. Then drive them back up to the graveyard park for them to continue.

Please take your rubbish away with you, the eco/black bags at the Crew Stops are for the athletes rubbish only.

All Support Crews will have to be aware of the running route and the driving route. You also need to be aware of your athlete at all times (even at night-time (!) and have to know how to pick her/him up if necessary. The tracker link will be available from Tues/Wed before the events. We will be doing the usual ‘dot-watching’ but priority will be given to the athletes with no crews.

The Brian Byrne Award for the Best Crew
This will be awarded to the crew who excel at their crew duties and this will be voted on by the race director, assistant race directors, marshals and volunteers. The prize will be awarded at the UltraBrunch on Sunday morning.

New to Crewing

Welcome to all the Kerry Way Lite, Nite, UltraRelay and Ultra crews. Together we will serve your runner to allow them their best possible performance. You have been chosen by your runner to fulfill a position of trust which will allow your runner to succeed or retire from the race in good health.

An ultra runner has a desire to find their limit. Your task is to help them approach but not exceed that limit. An agreement to crew must contain expectations of both the runner and the crew.

New crew might be surprised to learn that their runner will want to continue while hurting. A runner will have blisters, chaffing, nettle burns and gorse rash not to mention scrapes and bruises from falls. That is ok, they can run hurting. What is not ok is for your runner to run injured or in heat or cold distress.  A situation where your runner’s health is in danger is the end of their race.  Your runner knows that the best rescue is a self rescue. Your runner and you, as their crew, have a responsibility to safeguard your runner on this extremely difficult course.  

Crewing comes down to serving four needs, food and water, a well maintained body, logistics and morale. If the first three are properly addressed then positive morale is possible. If either of the first three are not served then positive morale is improbable. Your runner will become so mentally and physically taxed that their decision making ability will be compromised. If a crew witnesses a progressive deterioration of their runner, despite interventions, then that signals the end of your runners race. Crew can avoid that scenario by providing for their runner the following.

A runner can burn over 12,000 calories during the Ultra. Subtracting the 2,000 ready calories in their body 10,000 calories may need to be consumed over 40 hours. That is 250 calories an hour. The math for your runner will be unique, they will know from their experience and training, but what will be universally true is they must fuel with a goal to meet their individual requirements.  

Crew will provide food, drink and encouragement to get it consumed by their runner. Runner-carried food and drink should be refreshed at every aid station so crew can be aware of what was eaten and drunk between stations and retrieve rubbish from their packs and pockets. Calories consumed and volume drunk at aid station should be recorded to track progress toward the goal. Send your runner off with enough food and drink to meet their calorie and drink volume targets between aid stations.

If the event occurs during cool weather your runner will drink to thirst. On a particularly hot day the use of a scale is helpful to monitor your runner’s hydration by weighing them before the race and at aid stations.  

A Well Maintained Body
Prevention is the goal here. The cleaner, drier, more lubricated, bug-sprayed and sun-screened the better.  

Start from the bottom up. Your runner’s feet will make or break them. Fresh socks, shoes and a wipe down of the feet can prevent debilitating blisters. Get in front of problems by performing foot maintenance at every Crew Stop, this can happen as they are sitting eating as time is of the essence.

Clean and dress wounds
Change out all the kit that your runner had planned on changing. Get the wet and dirty gear off, your runner wiped down, towel dried and into the fresh kit as soon as possible.

The KWU relies on the welcome we enjoy from the communities we travel through. Help us return the favour. The roads are narrow and can in no way allow both access to our crews and local residents unless we rely heavily on our satellite trackers.  Find parking where you will not inconvenience anyone to arrive at the aid station 10 minutes before your runner. Depart the aid stations after your runner leaving the area better than you found it. There are no shortages of sights to see outside of the aid stations, as long as you keep one eye on your runner’s tracker icon.

Please abide by the rules of the race and the directions of the race marshals. The only enforcement tool available to the KWU is runner disqualification and no one associated with the race wants to be forced to use same.

Two head torches are better than one. If your runners head torch fails they will be in danger. Spare batteries are not the answer as they may be dropped in the dark or the light damaged during the changing of the batteries. Equip your runner with two head lamps.

Check your runner’s phone charge and supplement with an auxiliary battery. Keep your own phone charged.

Please communicate to the KWU Staff directly or ring 087 273 1489 if your runner retires and any and all issues pertaining to the safety and security of any runners or race staff.

Get your runner up and moving out of aid stations as soon as possible. Lingering can make legs very heavy and the mind weak.  

No two runners are motivated in just the same way. You know your runner and know what drives them.  If their fueling and physical outlook are in proper order they can complete the KW course they signed up for.  If they need a push, push.  If they need a hug, hug. Remind them of their training, remind them of their strength, remind them of their support. If your runner is not in the top three women or men remind them that they have 36/40 hours to succeed.  Use 39:59 if need be. Have them nap for an hour or two hours if time allows and all else fails.

This guide should not be looked at as comprehensive but as a thumbnail sketch of all you may be called upon to do while crewing. Your runner has specific needs. They know what they are. It turns out that you are one of those needs. Since your runner believes in you, we believe in you.

Best of luck,
The KWU Staff

"Of all the events that I have taken part in over the last 10 years from Canada to Switzerland, nothing touches your event for professional organisation and hospitality. To know someone is looking out for you at 2 o clock in the morning is comforting when you're on top of a mountain. Your volunteer team made the event even more enjoyable and the challenge possible. Many thanks to Barry and Eddie for the spuds in Foilmore and to Mags and William for dressing me in Sneem. It would have been game over without them!"
David Fagan
Kerry Way Ultra 2018