If you haven’t discovered this secret yet, it is high time you did: running a race with friends is a whole different experience than running solo! If you would like the motivation of being signed up for a running event, but you dread the drudgery of running alone, then a relay race might be just the thing for you.
Red Rock Relay has been putting on popular relay races since September of 2009, when they launched their Zion race. Still the company’s flagship event, Zion begins at the ski resort in Brian Head, Utah, where the first runner rides a chairlift up to 11,000 feet elevation and runs the trails back down to their awaiting team. The teams of 12 runners then take turns running pre-determined “legs” of 3-8 miles each for nearly 200 miles until they arrive at the finish line at the base of Zion National Park, at 3000 feet elevation, some 24-36 hours later. Each team divides into two groups of six and uses two vehicles, known as “vans,” to transport them along the course. When Van 1 is running their legs, Van 2 goes to rest, then they switch places and Van 2 runs their legs while Van 1 rests. This exchange repeats until each runner runs three legs, then the whole team meets up to cross the finish line together, exhausted and triumphant.
Many runners love it when it is their turn to get out and pound the pavement with gorgeous scenery all around them, but many more prefer the time in the van when they are supporting their friends, laughing, listening to music, and wondering what on earth they are doing wide awake and sweaty at 3 am! The silly times and the camaraderie are certainly part of the draw that keeps people flocking to participate in relay races. Many teams sport fun costumes, decorate their cars, blast loud music, and adorn themselves with press-on tattoos. People are light-hearted and happy and are generally more motivated by having a great experience than by running really fast.
Following the success of the Zion race, Red Rock Relay launched a race in Moab, Utah, that is designed for teams of 6 and covers 70 miles. The race begins and sunrise, the six team members all stick together in one van, and they each run two “legs.” The race takes 10-12 hours to complete, meaning that runners are done before bedtime and they get to sleep in a bed instead of cat-napping in a van all night! This format was very popular among runners who love the hilarity of a relay race but dislike the sleep deprivation, so Red Rock added a one-day relay in St. George, Utah (Dixie) and another in Park City, Utah. The current schedule allows for runners of all levels and temperaments to find an event that is just right for them! For 2013, Dixie was March 9, Moab is May 11, Zion is September 13-14, and Park City is October 12.
If you haven’t yet been bitten by relay fever, sign on up and come see what the hoopla is all about!
Author: Kate Roberts