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Learn : Marathon Story  

Note from Editor: This story is our first about a Marathon Relay. If you have never participated in a relay running event such as this, I strongly encourage it. It's a great way to get more people involved in the sport.

Running Background:

marathon photoWe decided to put together a co-ed marathon relay team for the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon for 2008. We thought it would be fun to still participate in the 'marathon', but be able to split up the race between 5 people.

Training:

Everyone had a different training plans. We had one runner who is very good and competitive. One regular runner. One runner who just started training a couple of months ago. Two runners who are very active people, but not runners, who ran only once prior to the race.

I run on a regular basis, but spent 6 weeks building up my mileage for my portion of the relay.

Race Day:

It was a great race day! Chris was our best team member, and he started off the race with the longest leg. The first leg was about 8 miles. The first 13.1 miles of the marathon are slightly uphill. It is very gradual, but you gain about 1,000 feet of elevation. Chris was tied for 3rd place overall when the marathon runner approached the relay exchange point.

I took the time chip from Chris to run the second leg, which was about 6 miles. It was still a gradual uphill course until you reach the half marathon mark. The trail was great, the weather was perfect, and I felt pretty good running.

At about the 14 mile mark, I passed off the time chip to Zach. His leg was about 4.5 miles long and downhill. It took us a little while to drive and find that exchange point, but we made it there with about 10 minutes to spare.

Aaron ran the next leg which we estimated was also about 4.5 miles long. His section was also downhill. There is one stop that is a big, sharp decline, and he said it was a little muddy.

With about 3 miles left to go, Aaron handed off the time chip to Megan to finish out the race. Everyone was able to get to the finish line to see her finish. Megan did a great job and wrapped up the relay for us.

Our finish time was 3:17:19. The course is excellent, a crushed gravel path through the trees, with occasional trailheads along the course. The relay exchange points are near the trailheads to allow for easy access to the runners. At the race, all relay teams are responsible for the transportation of its own runners from exchange point to exchange point. They provided us with a good map to get from one place to the next.

We placed 1st overall in the co-ed division, and were the second relay team to finish the race.

Our friend, James McGown, also joined us for the weekend race and won the men's marathon (USA Track and Field Trail Marathon Championship) in 2:33:52 and also broke the course record. Running the relay was also a fun way to cheer him on along the course.

Recovery:

We didn't have any recovery problems to speak of. We relaxed!

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

If you are unsure about running a marathon, try running a marathon relay to get the feel of the atmosphere of the marathon. It is a fun way to still be involved in the race, without all of the intensive training. It was fun to get a group of people together (we are from different areas of the US) for the weekend and spend time together as well as run in the race.

Plans to Run Another:

We would definitely consider running another marathon relay in the future!

What a great way for a group of friends to get together and enjoy a race!

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