Guest Post: Hurry Up and Wait. Conversations of a Crew Husband

by Jeff Merritt, husband of Milestone Sports athlete, Jackie Merritt


The Setting: 
Georgia Death Race Weekend, March 31st – April 2nd

The Players:
Jackie Merritt – The Talent. Ultra Runner Extraordinaire. MilestonePod Athlete.

Jeff Merritt – Crew Husband. Craft Beer Connoisseur. Runs occasionally.

Matt Wilson – Crew 1st Mate. Lost to Jackie at HAT 50k. Fast old guy.

Alexa Lampasona – Photographer. Film Crew. Active Lifestyle.

Liz Canty – Racer. Alabamian. Up and coming superstar. Lover of Beards.

Luke Hough – Crew Fiance of Liz Canty. Has Beard. Receiver of Frustrations.

Andy Jones-Wilkins – AJW. Ultra Running Legend. Jackie’s Coach.

Bernie Standards – Biter of Sticks. Owner of Floof. Poodle.


Friday – 10:15pm – Sunrise Cabin
Loud crash, glass breaking downstairs.
Jackie: What was that?
Jeff looks at the dog
Jeff: Wasn’t the dog.

Saturday – 2:30am
Jackie: Hey hun, can you make the coffee?
Jeff: …sure.
Vacuum cleaner running downstairs. Jeff walks downstairs.
Liz Canty: Luke threw a glass at a wasp last night.
Jeff: Making the coffee.

Luke “the wasp killer/glass thrower” Hough. Photo Credit: Liz Canty


Jackie: Jeff, wake up, we have to go.

4:45am – Vogel State Park – The Start
Jackie – Make sure you get my socks from the dresser.
Andy Jones-Wilkins: If you can, bring me some S-Caps at mile 21.
Jackie: Do we have any extra water?
Jeff: Yes, in the car.
AJW: Can I put this bag in your car?
Jeff: Sure, we can-
Jackie: Take my jacket and my vest. Do we have a plastic bag for this railroad spike?
Jeff: They are at the cabin.
Jackie: Can you get back to the cabin and bring me one?
Good Samaritan Runner: I have an extra ziplock.
Jackie, to Good Samaritan: Thank you so much! You are a life saver!
AJW proceeds to dispense invaluable race strategy and other trade secrets.

Pictured here: The Vest, The Jacket, and The Bag. Not Pictured: Ziplock Bag for Spike.


5:45am – Back at Sunrise Cabin
Matt Wilson – Anyone want more coffee?
Alexa Lampasona – I’ll make some!
Alexa shuffles around the coffee maker.
Alexa: I don’t actually know how to make coffee.

Matt: Jeff, wake up, we have to go.

8:36am – at Skeenah Gap Aid station – Mile 21
Jeff: Bernie, stop eating pricker bushes.
Matt: I doubt there will be any live results yet, but I’m going to check the site anyway.
Jeff: I’m thinking about an hour and we’ll see Jackie.
Matt: Any earlier and she’s going too fast.

Jeff: I need a toothpick for this taco.
Luke: I’m fresh out.
Jeff snaps a twig off a tree…
Jeff: hmmmmm
Luke: I don’t think Jackie would appreciate THAT toothpick.
Jeff tosses sharp twig on the ground, dejectedly.

Jeff: Jackie! Go to the aid station and check in, we’ll get you on the way back!…..What do you need?
Jackie: fill up, iPod, my stomach is bothering me, but my legs feel great!
Jeff: Ginger Ale?
Jackie: Yes!
Matt: You are 5th, 7 minutes behind first place.
Jackie: Ok, I’m going to walk out with this ginger ale, can you come with and take it?
Matt: Looking good, keep it up!
Jeff: Matt, eat this taco.

Jackie, rightly not trusting Matt’s directional prowess, confirms that she should continue to run the direction she is running.


10:45am – Driving
Jeff: So eat, then go wait for Jackie.
Matt: Sounds good, where are we eating?
Jeff: Morganton Grille? Let me check the menu.
Matt: Doesn’t look like they have anything we’ll eat.
Jeff: What about Copperhead Lodge?
Matt: Nope, nothing plant based.
Jeff: Armilladillo Lounge?
Matt: Nothing.
Jeff: What abou-oh, there is a brewery. Blue Ridge Brewery.
Matt: Sounds perfect!
20 minutes later
Jeff: Should we check the menu?
Matt: I’m sure it’s fine.
Jeff: Agreed. 

12:15pm – driving up dirt road to Winding stair Aid Station
Matt: live tracking has the top 5 women through 33, but still has Jackie at 21!?!?
Matt hits refresh on his phone 15 times in 30 seconds.
Matt: Still nothing!
Jeff: Check the men?
Matt: Ah, they haven’t updated anyone. Ok. I feel a little better.
Jeff: Driving slow on dirt roads is for people who care about their paint jobs.               

1:40pm – Winding Stair Aid Station – Mile 47
Alexa begins to do core/yoga while waiting.
Matt: I could do that if I wanted to.
Jeff opens a growler.
Luke: So we aren’t running?
Jeff: Matt and I decided earlier that training starts on Tuesday.
Alexa, doing side leg raise things: I’m the kind of person that needs to do something everyday.
Jeff: Us too. Anyone want more of this?
Luke and Matt hold out their cups.

Aliza Lapierre, first woman, comes through.

Matt: Let’s go Jackie!
Jackie: It is hot!
Jeff: Do you want your sunglasses?
Jackie: Yes, and a cold buff, refill my bladder, ginger. Do you have any wraps made?
Jeff takes Jackie’s sunglasses off.
Jeff: No-
Matt: But we can make one quick!
Alexa: I can make one! Where is a knife?
Jeff: Just squeeze the avocado!
Alexa masterfully squeezes the avocado like a bottle of ketchup onto the wrap.
Alexa: Where’s the salt?
Jeff: Do you want a ginger ale?
Jackie: Are there any unwrapped ginger chews?
Luke: There’s Liz!
Jeff frantically unwraps ginger chews while trying to find lime juice and salt for the wrap.
Alexa: Here’s your wrap!
Jackie takes one bite and throws it on the ground.
Jackie: Thanks! I need more gels.
Jackie gets her pack back on and heads out of the aid station.
Matt: 2nd Place!
Jeff: Liz do you want a cold towel?
Liz: Yes!

“Good lord these gels are hot!” What?” “nothing babe, go get em!” Photo Credit: Alexa Lampasona


Some time passes – Winding Stair Aid Station
Jeff: There’s AJW!
Matt: Do you need anything?
Jeff: Coke, Ginger ale? Cold towel?
AJW: How is she doing?
Jeff: 2nd behind Aliza. She’s got the golden ticket, Jackie doesn’t lose places at the end of a race.
AJW: That’s awesome!
Jeff: See ya at the finish!

6:39pm – Amicalola State Park, far side of the finish, mile 70ish
Matt: Here’s Aliza.

Jackie: Woot woot!

I can see the finish line! Photo Credit: Matt Wilson


Matt: Almost there! Let’s go! 2 more miles!

Wait. WHAT? Photo Credit: Alexa Lampasona


7:22pm – Amicalola State Park – Finish Line
Random People in the Crowd: Let’s go Jackie! Wooo!
Jeff: Wait…that’s not Jackie.
Matt: Dude caught her.
Jeff: Heh, he really didn’t want to be chicked. Fair play to dude. 

Crowd: Yeah Jackie!
Jeff: There she is!
Matt: Golden Ticket!

Pictured: Jackie dabbin’ on the finish line. Not Pictured: Jackie looking up “dabbin’” on Urban Dictionary.


Jeff releases the hound.
Bernie looks at Jeff quizzically.
Jeff: Go get her, boy!
Bernie finally realizes that Jackie is behind him and sprints over.

Jackie keeps her legs strong by supersetting 72 mile runs with dog lifts. Photo Credit: @GADeathrace


Epilogue –
Sunday Evening – Roof of Ponce City Market
Jeff: We did really well this weekend.
Matt: Absolutely.



See you in Squaw!- Jeff



Author: Nancy Rowe

Nancy is the VP of Marketing and Communications at Milestone Sports. She can be reached at