Running Crews

I've been listening to the Ultra Finishers Podcast recently after seeing it mentioned in another thread. One reoccurring theme I've noticed is that runners often have a crew with them while doing the ultra. 

Is this a common thing to see in the UK? I'm doing my first Ultra this year and will be running with whoever is around me at the time. Should I be trying to rope in people to run sections with me?


  • No image 

    if you run a lot with someone or a club maybe get them to encourage you if you are doing a 100m or so image but crews are not that common.

    for a 50m or so it seems a bit overkill image

    Most UK Crews seem to be partner / kids if you have them image 


  • most races will not allow you to have people running with you and some will even ban supporters from handing you anything mid race so read the rules of the race.

    that said a number of the very long races will allow a memebr of crew run with you for the last section......just to make sure that you are safe as hallucinations and water are not a good mix.....

    I have never had any crew for an ultra


  • Thanks both. I was worried that I'd be horribly unprepared!

  • What race are you doing?
  • I'm doing the London2Cambridge Challenge in July. It's a 60 miler, but 5 times further than I've run before so it's all a bit of an unknown.

  • If it's the Action Challenge event then no need at all for any additional support in terms of nutrition - there will be more food than you can manage.  They insist on a  night time buddy system - if you're still out after dark - although route will be very well marked.  You could always get friends and family to meet you at the designated rest stops if you like - no problem.

  • Support crew is more relevant for 100m - which some off-road ones at least insist on unless you have relevant experience you can prove, others optional. Some shorter but tougher off-roaders or multi-dayers also give you option. E.g. I did road support for a guy doing 'the Spine' this weekend - this is a very tough, multi-dayer - due to remote locations and weather/ground conditions. Even for this you don't have to have crew, but it helps as checkpoints are a long way apart so you'd have to carry a lot of food/drink as it doesn't pass that many shops/pubs either.

    But most ultra's the CP provide food and drink are less than 10m apart so you shouldn't need road support.

    It can seem daunting starting out, but with training and practice eating on the run and a pack that can hold relevant food, gear and at least 1L of water you will find you can go a long way without help. And the CP on ultra usually offer more substantial 'real food' options than road marathons and shorter (which are usually limited to water, NRG drink, gels), so the food you take at CP should sustain you longer.

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    I'm putting a crew together for LLCR130. I'm spoilt from having run Comrades carrying absolutely nothing and being provided with support points at least every 3k. I want to emulate that if possible. Looks like 3 crew at least for safe driving across potentially 42 hours (although I expect to finish earlier than that)...I was shocked when my team leader raised that point - I am staying awake for all that time running - why can't my team leader - because its dangerous of course! I've got the easy job, my support crew have a logistics nightmare to negotiate! Next challenge is to find a gps tracker that tells you the truth, real time and accurate. We tried a phone; miles out, literally!

  • Just my opinion but I think that's going to be overly-complex lowrez if you stick to as short a time between meetups as 3k anyway. Roughly every 5k with multiple cars might be doable, but personally on a canal path I'd go longer than that and carry energy bars and snacks for intermediate feeds as if your relying on regular meets its not good if they miss you (traffic or nav problem) and also will slow you down as you'll be stopping or slowing more. I've run parts of the path and its variable, e.g. leeds to skipton is mostly pretty runnable in road shoes. Further into the pennines in a section I ran Sunday its more like a good trail (epscially when not wet /muddy like this time of year). They'll be many access points to the canal in more urban areas, but maybe less so in the wilds and if they're are you may not be able to stop a car close to them.

    Regarding GPS, even the devices provided by companies who specialise in such thing can't be relied upon completely. Not so much accurate as to location, but its the updating that can be an issue at times. I saw a few times at weekend that I'd get no update for a fair while from guy I was tracking, then would update and he'd be a good deal further on (at one point by several miles, but mostly by less than 1m).

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Drunken Euphoria on tour - thanks for the info - I agree - its one thing having a plan - but another putting it in to practise. We haven't actually been on the ground yet. We're planning a few tial runs to look at how realistic the plan is - brilliant to have your input above! We are also looking at having an "open comms link" to address the "where the *** are you" issue if GPS is off. How regular were your GPS pings meant to be? We are looking at system that fires every 5 seconds (in theory).

    Rob - Don't want to hijack your thread - we are getting pretty specific so I can open a different chain if this isn't where you want the discussion to go image    

  • I just use fenix3 to phone (which has garmin app installed), it works as long as you have a signal from your phone provider to send the data out. The GPS plot comes from the fenix3

    In the Garmin app on the phone you can tell it to post the link to facebook, twitter, or x email addresses.

  • Don't worry - This is all interesting stuff and still related to running crews.

    I'm going to be using an Android App called Real Time GPS Tracker ( to let friends and family know where I am on the ultra. I've set it to update every minute, which should be enough for most. It's also got a nice feature where people can comment on your location and it will read out their messages to you.

    Most GPS units update once a second, with military grade stuff more often. I'd say, given the speed of most runners, once every 30 seconds would be sufficient. It gives your crew a good enough approximation of where you are to find you as you're going to be along the track


  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    After some more serious discussion considering what I'll actually expect; start to finish, we're not going to attempt to meet until around 10 miles post start. Thats based on me supping 500ml of drink over that distance and being ready for a top up by then. Thinking about any locator tech, being dependent on bog standard phone coverage for pushing the pings out, we'll have a go at just using cheap mobile phones to keep a dialogue going rather than expecting some tech to be incredibly timely and accurate at tracking.

    Thanks for that greenalp link Rob, not looked at that before, we could have a go at enabling that on the "cheap" phones and have a combo of that and voice to track. Then at each rendezvous (or whatever frequency) we swap phones over to charge the one I've run down to a degree.

    I'm not too concerned about a wider audience being able to track me automatically, my support crew can easily push out tweets or whatever as and when for that.

  • Also blindingly simple if Apple phones just use find my iPhone just log them in to same account.

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