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Support workers offer chicken soup for the runner's soul

November 20, 2005|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The JFK 50 Mile offered two kinds of chicken noodle soup, one of the support workers at the C&O Canal towpath near Harpers Ferry Road in Washington County joked to race participants.

Ray-men or rah-men noodles were on the menu, spoofing ramen noodles soup, the worker said.

The worker, stationed at the C&O Canal towpath at Antietam Creek, near Canal and Harpers Ferry roads, joked that most people preferred the ray-men soup.

The stop marked the ultramarathon's 27th mile.

While the noodle joke got some chuckles, the station had a bunch of other goodies on the menu.

"Soup, water, Pepsi, Gatorade, refills if you need them," another worker yelled out to race participants.

That wasn't all that was offered: cookies, M&Ms, pretzels, chips, bananas and oranges also were on the menu.

To be more specific, the station was equipped with 112 gallons of water; 3 pounds, 8 ounces of potato chips; "tons of cookies" and 2,000 cups among several other items, said Bruce Kessler of the Chambersburg (Pa.) Road Runners.

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"People eat a lot of stuff, but we always have more than is actually consumed," Kessler said.

The group has been working the stop since 1994, when about 500 people finished the ultramarathon, Kessler said.

These days, he said that number has grown to more than 1,000.

Kessler said he used to enjoy running the ultramarathon when he was younger, and he knew how important the water stops were along the way.

That's one of the reasons why the Chambersburg Road Runners continue to provide support at the event, he said.

Every year, the group likes to dress in costume while working the race to provide some humor for the participants.

Previous years included a wedding and "busy bee" themes.

This year's theme was "Low Costa Spa," a parody of La Costa Spa in California.

Workers wore colorful ties and cummerbunds on top of casual clothing. What appeared to be a terry cloth bathrobe hung from a tree branch behind the station.

Kessler joked that it was a "luxury bathrobe."

Several of the race's participants stopped to compliment the ties.

"This is Low Costa," Kessler said. "This is the only one of its kind."

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