What’s Your Favorite Aid Station

Many of us have already hit the trails for a race this year and are looking forward to more this summer. At the vast majority of these races, we’ll stop at one or more aid stations (or a couple dozen if you’re running the Vermont 100). For the most part, these aid stations serve the utilitarian purpose of providing food and drink. However, some aid stations take it a few steps further by offering hot food, full-on smorgasbords, music, entertaining themes, adult beverages, or other mood boosting amenities. We’d love to hear what you favorite aid station is and why!

Scenic Aid Station

Setting and scenery can greatly enhance an aid station.

If you’re interested in finding out how to make the most of the aid stations at future races, pick up the latest issue of Trail Runner magazine (No 73) to read my Trail Tips article Acing Aid Stations: Use Them to Speed Up Your Next Race.

BONUS: By leaving a comment, Benjamin Dunn won an entry in the inaugural Slickrock 50 mile on October 8 outside of Moab, Utah. He’ll have the option of upgrading to the 100 mile or downgrading to the 50k. Since not h might not be able to get out to Moab, the entry will be transferable to anyone of the winners choosing.

There are 74 comments

  1. olga

    Interesting view on timing for Brown Bar at WS…

    Virginius at HR – hard work to get there. Sherman at HR has the best food spread. Never remember the name of AS at Bighorn that serves giant shrimps every year – I came back just for that. Waldo AS's are all awesome, indeed. Hope pass at LT also deserves mentioning for wow. I had a shot of vodka once at Dimple hill at the Mac. The ones I owned and volunteered at:) Thanks, ya'll, for taking care of the runners!

  2. Nick P

    Kroger's Canten/Virginius at HR is one of the most impressive I have seen. Pretty impressive considering the effort to get up there…and the volunteers are spending a good amount of time fairly exposed.

    Although, 'the best' is often the one right up ahead just when you need it!

  3. Reid Landes

    The two most memorable ones for me were notable for the foods they had when I most needed them.

    (1) The 3rd (also 1st) aid station of the Midnight 50K at Lake Sylvia near Little Rock, AR. It had dark purple, very tasty, seedless grapes that helped me recover from barfing up my chocolate-flavored gels over the few miles prior to the aid station. I'll not do chocolate or coffee flavored gels again. Turns my stomach thinking about them.

    (2) The Lake Vista Road aid station of the Ouachita Trail 50M/50K for the dill pickles that got rid of the sugary, surprisingly lasting, after taste of the gels and shot blocks I had eaten during the 1st half of the run. I will hence carry small dills on me when going on very long runs.

    RL

  4. Terry Miller

    Never done an ultra yet, or even an actual race on trails(even though that's where I do most of my running anymore), to compare aid stations. Shooting for my first ultra this fall anyway though, so the timing for Moab would be about perfect!

  5. xaviniesta

    Hopeless at Leadville…stumble down a talus slope, threads of re-chunked goo dribbling from your face…and an alpine meadow full of llamas greet you with such indifferent nonchalance that you have to wonder what they wonder you are thinking…

  6. Joey

    Sunrise Aid Station "the Dog Pound" @ San Diego 100

    Biggest variety of Hot foods and drinks, Great music in the station in addition to entrance and exit of trailhead, lots of fun lights, lifesize themed decorations, crazy hair, superb First Aid, Most crazy volunteers in one place at the same time…

    *but I'm biased as I also volunteer at this station.. none the less, if I was running this would likely still be my favorite!

  7. Nicholas Lee

    I'm going to go with Hope Pass (Leadville 100). Not because there's anything spectacular about the food or anything. It's just damn impressive that the volunteers haul all the gear up there (with the help of llamas). And, seeing llamas feeding on the grass at 12,000ft is a bizarre sight.

  8. Mike D.

    Any aid station at the Bighorn Wild and Scenic Trail Run. Fresh Bacon and potatos at Cow Camp, burritos, pizza, etc. at Dry Fork. The list goes on.

  9. StevenB

    Most aid stations are unrecognizable, but appreciated. One that does stick with me was the AS at the turn around at the Leona Divide 50 this year. They had the BEST homemade quiche I have ever eaten. Fatty, salty and delicious! Since I had a 2.5 mile climb back up to the trail it gave me plenty of time to enjoy the quiche and get it down before getting back to business. I would go back to the LD50 in a heartbeat if they promised the quiche.

  10. Jeff Faulkner

    Last year's Virgil Crest Ultras had 2 awesome aid stations. Rockpile was manned and supplied by Ultrarunning Matters and they had awesome hot soup and fresh fruit cut into small pieces that were easy to eat without choking. At night Gravel Pit was manned by some harriers from the Ithaca area. They had disco lights and beer! It felt like a party to us runners, it was a party for the aid station people. Good times.

  11. Anonymous

    Silver State 50/50!
    Best food and volenteers. George Ruiz’s aid station at the top of Peavine is totally awesome.
    The finish line food is better than any other race. They feed everyone with homemade food and goodies!

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