If you ever get the chance, race a relay. Some friends and I did Denver’s Colfax Marathon Relay, in which 5 people per team each run a leg of approx. 4-6 miles. For one thing, if you’re racing against people doing the full race individually, you’ll be able to run much faster than them. You (or at least I) get a boost from passing all those people. With a team to divide and conquer the course, you can choose whether you run the uphill section or down, through the zoo or around the lake, in the stadium, or down the homestretch. If you are training for a longer distance race and really want to carry your team to victory, volunteer for multiple segments.
I especially recommend this event if you’re in more of a hate/hate place with running, and are trying to drum up some enthusiasm. I commend you. Carrying the baton makes it about something other than just you and your own running. Plus, it’s an excuse to carbo-load with your pals, and party together after the race.
Running aside, there’s enough prep work and communication that just being in the right place at the right time feels like a triumph. If you’re the first runner, you have to leave the house in the wee a.m. with the baton (don’t forget the baton!), and a strategy for transport after you hand it off. If you’re the last runner, you have to estimate what speed the rest of your teammates will run, so that you are punctual for your takeoff into the final stretch. It is the perfect event for teams with a combination of morning birds that like to be early and proactive, and birds that like to sleep, and work with what they’re given.
It goes without saying that this is a great sort of event for building camaraderie. For Colfax, there’s also a pretty awesome awards banquet. I was expecting 2 hours of speeches and roll call, but was pleasantly surprised when they gave us permission to wander and chat, graze, and congregate outdoors even as the (myriad) awards were presented. This approach turned an otherwise stuffy event into a delightful meet’n great for runners who wouldn’t otherwise talk to each other (on account of being too preoccupied with racing each other), but are actually pretty cool people.
10/10 Highly recommend.