My husband and I enjoy a good running adventure. Whether it is happening upon a 5k amidst a short trip somewhere, or planning a marathon in a faraway place, we love it. Last year we experienced a brand new running adventure, which was the relay. We ran the Blue Ridge Relay with four friends, and while it was one of the hardest things I think I've ever done, it was one of the best.
After Blue Ridge, Jason told me of a relay he'd always wanted to do that was near his home town. He wanted to run the River to River Relay, which consists of 80 miles between the Mississippi River and the Ohio River in Illinois. One has to register the day registration opens and still may not get a spot on the relay roster. I was game for another relay, and so Jason sat poised to register our team as soon as he was able.
Sure enough, our team made the cut. We were so excited! The next step was finding 6 other people to go on this adventure with us. Each runner would run about three 5ks, averaging about 10 miles each. We thought it would be easy to come up with six running friends, especially here in Huntsville with such a big running community.
WRONG! I don't suppose it helps that the relay falls on the day of the Boston Marathon, or that two smaller races are taking place here in Huntsville...but finding runners turned out to be much harder than we'd thought. We asked friends and family. We asked people far and wide. Everyone had other races, other plans, no money, no time, no training...things weren't looking good.
As the relay drew nearer, we started to get a little worried. We needed 8 runners, and we'd only had 4 commit (two of which were ourselves). Jason posted an ad on the Miss Lonely Feet page of the relay, and two runners responded. Bob and Julie were subs for another team and with the relay so close, they didn't think they'd be needed. We happily accepted them, bringing our team to 6 runners.
Jason and I figured we could make this work. The two of us would double up, running as two runners each instead of 1. We assigned all of the runner placements, everyone agreed, and we were ready to run!
With a week and a half before the race, Bob and Julie backed out. The team they were subbing for had some injured members who could not run. Bob wrote Jason, apologized, and wished us luck.
We were back to four runners. We did indeed need some luck! I began to reach out to everyone I could think of who had ever run a step. Jason did the same. It was very short notice though, and many already had plans. We decided to ask my mom and Gary Harris, a family friend. Mom had a marathon the very next weekend, but she said yes. Gary also said yes, and we began to feel better about things.
Alas, it was too soon to get comfortable. One of our original four backed out...and we were back to five. But wait! Gary's daughter, Valerie has joined our team! We are back to six once again.
That brings me to today, the Tuesday before the race on Saturday, and six committed runners. We have one more who might be interested, but with such short notice, I can't blame her for saying no. We were told there are often runners hanging around packet pick-up looking for teams to join, and if that is the case we will gladly snap them up!
Either way, Jason and I are willing to double up if needed, and we believe we can finish our 80 miles with the team we have.
After the fiasco that was finding and holding teammates, I am hoping for a wonderful experience. I am grateful to Matt, who is willing to fly from Texas to run with us. I am grateful to Mom, Gary, and Valerie for being willing to just pick up and go on such short notice. I love that I get to share this experience with my husband, my mom, and some good friends.
Borrowing from our Blue Ridge Relay team name, we are the Tortoises and Hares. There is no telling if we will run with our current six or if things will change again, but I'm excited, hopeful, and ready to run all the same.