“Ever seen a line for people going to poop in the woods? Why? There was only one bush!”
There is nothing like a relay race! I’ve done two marathon relays, but if you want to have some of the most fun while running in your life, do an overnight relay. Any time I hear someone mention one, I recall the good times I had doing Capital to Coast Relay. We ran 223 miles from Austin to Corpus Christi. All I have to say is, what happens in the van, stays in the van. Take a group of strangers and after a relay ask them what they think of each other? Do you think they will love one another or detest the mere mentioning of a each others’ name? I hope everyone’s experience is not the latter. There is plenty that will go on that could make for a funny reality show. I can see it now—The Reality of Running Relays. It would be like The Amazing Race meets The Real World. Let’s see if the Travel Channel will pick this up.
There is no off-season for relays. I have friends preparing for Rouge-Orleans in February and others gearing up for Gulf Coast Interstate Relay in April. Each relay has its own flair. How many races have you done that finish during Mardi Gras or span 22 bridges across four states? You can’t talk about relays without mentioning the granddaddy of them, Hood to Coast. Many of the relays modeled themselves after HTC. I can only hope that one day I’ll find myself out there making it happen.
There is a series of relays across the country, Ragnar Relay Series, that has its own cult following—Ragnar Nation. It’s possible to get addicted to fun! Ragnar recently announced they were partnering with Salomon to entice trail runners with the first overnight trail relay series. No excuse now if you prefer trails to the road.
You never know what state might have a relay. If Arkansas can have one, any state can. If you’re looking for a relay, visit Relay Guide. It’s an informative site about everything pertaining to running relays. You can search for relays by keyword, state, date, distance, month, and country. There are also some good tips that one thinking of doing a relay should know. Everyone will not be fortunate enough to have a captain and driver like I did when I did my first overnight relay. There are some people that may be serious, but I encourage you to have fun if you ever do one. The hardest part won’t be deciding who is going to run which leg, where and what to eat, or what you should pack. For many, it will be the team name. Your name defines who you are as a team. Unleash your creativity! Our team at C2C3 was Texas Toast. We all had nicknames associated with bread. Burnt Toast, Honey Buns, White Bread, Dark Rye, Wonder Bread, Cheezy Bread, Berger Buns, etc. Our names reflected something about us. Cheezy Bread is a Wisconsin native. Burnt Toast is a firefighter. Berger Buns’ last name is Berger. I think it’s obvious how I’m Dark Rye. LOL!
“If I catch anyone taking videos of my back side…”
Don’t be afraid to engage with other teams. You can do it in person or if you’re like me, Twitter may be your medium of choice. I think I tweeted more during the relay than I ever have in a weekend. If you use Twitter, I suggest using a hashtag. Some races will be using them already, so unless you just have to be different, use it. This is what tweeting at 2AM could be like during a relay.
Friend: What are you doing?
Me: I’m about to go run.
Friend: Isn’t it kind of early?
Me: Yes, but my leg is up next.
Friend: Leg? What are you talking about?
Me: Look at my previous tweets. Dark Rye is out! #c2c3txtoast
Relays bring people together just like any other type of race does. People have reunions and meetups centered around races. The captain for my Texas Toast team embarked on a journey that was a different way to approach a relay. He is definitely a relay fanatic. Along with 11 other people, they ran Ragnar Florida Keys in celebration of losing weight. The team had members from across the nation whose common goal was that of fighting the weight loss battle and winning. It’s a story of triumph and determination. You can find out more about the From Fat to Finish Line story on their website. The Today Show also did a piece on them. I told you there was something about these relays.
As you can see, relays can be life changing. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but going created some bonds that will never be broken. I have tons of inside jokes about gum, tweeting, fire ants, false hills, and other things that are best left for those that were in the van. I look forward to doing it again. I miss the banter, van antics, fatigue induced laughter, and most of all the friends I made.
“Is Burnt Toast running slower because he’s checking her out?”
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