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Running a Marathon Relay

Posted Jan 16 2013 10:53am

A friend of mine asked me to join their relay team for the First Light Marathon in Mobile.  I thought why not; I have not been part of a relay since high school’s 4x800 team. Unlike high school there was not any pressure.  We were there to have a good time.

My alarm goes off at 4 am, I hop out of bed and eat my race day breakfast; coffee, oatmeal and a banana.  Marla our team captain messages everyone to let us know we are one leg short.  I volunteer to run legs one and four.

first 4

Our Relay Team – Marla, Emily, Kathy and Me

We all meet up with plenty of time to pick up our race packets and meet with the local running store for pictures.

first 1

Phatz Girls from Running Wild taking over Mobile

first 2 first 3

Talking strategy on getting to all the relay points.

The plan of attack:  I would run the first leg, the other team members would drive to the next relay point, and so on so forth for the rest of the day.

I head to starting line and the rest of the team jumps in the car.  All the runners are lining up for the race, I push towards the front a little ways.  The race director does his thing, then we are off.  I would love to say I blazed the trails, but honestly it was not my best run.  After an unintentional month off of running during the holidays, I felt the burn during this five mile stretch.  I held back a little knowing in less them two hours I would be running another 5.  I passed the bracelet off to Marla at 40:10.

We jump in the car and head to the next relay point.  This is not an easy task as a lot of Mobile is shut done because of the race.  We make it in plenty of time to catch our next relay point.  Marla passes the bracelet off to Emily; and off Emily goes to tackle the rolling hill section of the course. 

We jump in the car again and head to the next relay point.  This one took a little longer to get to but we made it with some time to spare.  Emily passes the bracelet off to me and away I go.  My first two miles are pretty strong but the hills are starting to really burn my legs.  As I am passing other marathoners I am awe that they are able to continue on.  I am now walking up the fourth steep hill and I have only put in 8 miles with a rest!  They are on mile 18, the determination of the human spirit is amazing!  I come up on my relay point after 45:07 and am searching for Kathy.  I check to see if she has checked in.  Oh dear, my team has not made it to the relay point yet.  I give them a quick call on the phone.  Kathy is in the neighborhood ahead of me and is running back to catch me.  My team had gotten lost trying to find the relay point.  So I truck on, I hit mile 21 (in 8:04), still no Kathy.  I stop where I am until she catches me.  I had misunderstood Marla, she was behind me on the course not in front of me.

My team members are not from Mobile and were having a hard time locating me on the route.  I decided to go ahead and run the last 5.2 miles with Kathy.  Kathy is an amazing person, she had 20 surgeries in 2009-2010.  The doctors told her she would not walk again much less run, but there she was proving them all wrong!

Marla and Emily join us in the last 100 yards of the course and we finish together as a team!

16.2 miles in the books!  My longest run to date.  I told Chris I am going to get a 16.2 sticker for my car!

What I learned from this experience:  people are amazing creatures.  I heard people on the course say they could not finish; but they did.  Two girls said their mind was suppose to give out before their bodies but they pushed forward and finished.  Runners giving inspiration to each other to carry on.  I am still in awe at the perseverance of the human body and spirit.

Have you ever ran in a marathon relay?  Did you have problems getting to the relay points?

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