My First Relay Experience: 26.2 Challenge Team Relay

And I am a race pushover. What does that mean? Well, it seems when a friend brings up a race and I have the time/funds - I sign up.

Plain and simple.

It happened ... again!

Last Wednesday (April 24) while at The Dubliner in Cambridge with friends for the launch of the latest Slumbrew brew, I asked my friend George what he had coming up for races over the weekend.

George and some members of his running club - The Most Informal Running Club Ever or TMIRCE - was taking part in the 26.2 Challenge Team Relay on the Saturday (April 27) in Plymouth.

And they were looking for a 6th member for their team.

**Interest Peaked**

Over the next 24 hours, we got confirmation that they did indeed need a 6th runner ... and BAM! All of a sudden I am signed up for my first relay race.

The 26.2 Challenge Team Relay is set up a little different from other relays I've heard about.

The 26.2 Challenge is a team relay race for you and five of your friends. It's an out-and-back style course, one member is running their butt off while the other teammates party, dance and enjoy the entertainment provided at our transition area.

Each member of your team will run an equal portion of the 26.2 distance. As one runner heads out the next relay member waits for the exchange. The whole event is one big party; live DJ spinning tunes as the runners take off and come in. Vendors line the exchange area offering samples, goods for sale and sage advice.

I picked up two of my running mates for the day - George & Jen - at 7am and we were off to Plymouth. The website told us to be there at least an hour before the race started (which was 9am) so we cruised into the parking lot just before 8am. Perfect.

We claimed a part of the parking lot - like the other teams were doing - and waited for our teammates.

Everyone else on the team was a member of TMIRCE so I was the only newbie. But, it is always nice to meet new runners!

As the members of the group talked about the paces they hoped to attain that day, I just kept hoping I wouldn't be the person that would slow down their overall time. They were hoping to place and I didn't want to ruin the chances. I was 12 days out from the Boston Marathon so I wasn't sure what my legs would produce.

After getting acquainted, picking up bibs and having some pre-race snacks, it was time for our first runner Jen to hit the Starting Line. It was so odd to have the race begin and not be at the Start Line. I was slated to run the 4th out of our 6 legs on the morning.

Thankfully our teammate Erin had a stop watch so she kept it running throughout the race so that we could all be prepared in enough time for our legs of the run.

We were each set to run 1/6 of a marathon or 4.36 miles.

Jen (34:04), Christina (31:27) and George (33:38) all OWNED the course.

As I saw George turning the corner, I was in place at the Start Line - ready to FINALLY kick off my leg of the race. :)

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Photo Courtesy of RaceMenu

Quick hug from Alain at Racemenu and I was off.

I didn't know anything about the course except some quick snippets from the teammates that had already run.

I think my legs were just a TAD happy to be out running because I ran the first 3/4 of a mile at a 6:45 min/mile pace.

YEAH - those isn't my normal pace in the least so I immediately told my brain and my legs to sllloowww it on down!

This wasn't a 5k - this was 4+ miles so I couldn't get burnt out too quickly.

Oh I also almost went the wrong way about 1/4 of a mile into the race - yeah, I missed a sign, but thankfully righted my ship quickly.

We had to go around the first water stop twice - once at the beginning of the run and once at the end. There were plenty of volunteers out on the course, which made the odd transition a little easier.

So thank you volunteers!! :) :)

Once through the first mile of the race, it was a clear out and back along the water in Plymouth. The sun was shining and the water looked beautiful.



The sun was beaming down on us, but I tried to stay committed and focused on the goal of keeping a sub 8 min/mile pace. That was my only goal of the run.

I could feel my body starting to get tired around the 5k mark so I buckled down. And as my Tedy's Team Running Coach, John, would say "Just Run!"

So that's what I did.

I pushed through the final mile and can say taking my ENERGYBits before the run helped.

I crossed the finish line in 31:18 - HELL YEAH.

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I will gladly take the results.

I grabbed a water and rejoined my team to wait out our final two runners.

Our last two runners - Erin (29:57) and Nathan (24:31) - DOMINATED the course. Nathan ended up being the fastest person of the day. YES, his slip said 1/473 - hot DAMN.

So as a group we finished the 26.2 mile course in 3:04:57...

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... and headed inside to grab a beer while we waited for the official results to post.

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With the $25 entry fee, you had entry to the race, a 26.2 Challenge beer mug and one free Mayflower Brewing Company.

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Me, Alain (RaceMenu), Steven (26.2 Challenge Organizer)

I drank my beer, ate a yummy chicken caesar salad and had a great lunch with team as we celebrated...

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... our 3rd place finish in our division (running club).

In the end we were the fifth team overall out of 79 teams. Not. Too. Shabby!

I had a GREAT time participating in this relay. It was a change of pace from normal races.

And I will definitely look to do something like this again!


Have you participated in a relay race before? If so, what time? Did you love it?