From Team Type 1 SANOFI's Run Across America - Night Shift

Night Shift by Marcus Grimm

“We saw what you wrote about us,” Team Type 1 SANOFI runner Eric Tozer said to me, in a way that made it clear that he and his night-shift teammates, Jon Obst and Ryan Jones, were not entirely pleased with one of my earlier dispatches.

The fact that Tozer would voice his displeasure at all meant something in and of itself. If you were to make a list of the most easy-going members of the team, you’d be hard pressed to top the youngster from Sacramento.

Tozer’s complaint was in regards to my first story about the team’s new strategy nearly a week ago. I had written then that the plan for the night-time crew was to run slower and to cover fifty miles per night. In my defense, that was the plan. But as we all have come to learn, many things in the Run Across America didn’t go according to plan and one of those was the success of the night crew, which somehow managed to run similar paces as the day crew, despite limited visibility and fewer than half the number of runners.

“I think our shortest night has been about sixty-five miles, and most have been around seventy-five,” said Ryan Jones. I asked the night crew why the plan had been for them to run slower and why they hadn’t.

“Some of the guys don’t like running at night as much,” Tozer speculated. “So early on, I think a lot of our night running was slower. Truth is, I think some guys got weirded out by some dogs early on and other strange sounds. Me, I don’t know… I think it’s kind of cool. I don’t know if I thought that when we started, but I think it now. “

“The first few hours, when the cars are whizzing by are a little tough,” added Jon Obst. “But then it gets real quiet. The cars are very few and it’s just beautiful.”

Though the squads share a common mealtime and are more united than the two shifts earlier in the trip, make no mistake; the night shift thinks of themselves as being a little different from their day-time counterparts.

“We’ve got this thing,” Jones said, with a twinkle in his eye. “Wherever Dave (crew manager Dave Eldridge) tells us to stop, we go further. Some nights it’s ten or twelve miles further. One night it was only one. But we like to have them wake up and be surprised where we are.”

Looking at the night-time crew, haggard, thin and yet brimming with energy as they waited for the day-shift to drop off the van, I couldn’t help but ask Tozer how things would be for him in just a few days, when he was forced to reprogram his sleeping schedule for the third time in two weeks.

“It’s going to be a little strange,” he admitted. “I’m probably going to be a mess. I could see my wife hating me for a few days.”

And if Tozer couldn’t have been more right when we first started talking, it wasn’t lost on me that he was probably entirely wrong now.


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