I had the pleasure of being asked to join my running friends from Chambersberg, PA to run in this relay under the sponsorship of the local running store, The Runner's Sole. We were a team of 9 ladies and recruited a running friend and his wife to be our drivers.
We ran the most indirect route between Gettysburg and DC, saw some amazing parts of the area that we would not have otherwise seen. We ended up being started too late for our actual overall team speed and quickly found ourselves running alone, and once night fell we were running into transitions stations that had long packed up and gone home.
We wondered why the RD had not called us yet, as we had to turn in all our cell phone numbers of every van member at the team leader meeting the night before the race. We figured that nothing was wrong and to keep on trekking. Once we arrived at roughly the halfway point where I am supposed to start my second leg, the transition guy stops us and tells us since we are so far behind that we are going to need to skip the next several sections to catch up. We ask if we are disqualified and he tells us that we are not. He also tells us that in no uncertain terms can we allow the runner to go ahead alone without the van closely behind since we "keep getting lost," when in fact we had only 1 runner get lost 1 time, sheesh. We are tired, we are upset, and we need a bathroom break, rest break and to gas up the van. We call the RD back to ask if we can skip a few more sections to allow for time to complete these tasks, we get the green light and assurance that we get medals at the finish line despite the skip ahead.
We restart, running through an old battlefield in the dark that is normally open only during daylight hours, it is eerie and neat at the same time. Before long, daylight comes about the same time that the long C&O towpath section begins, we get a second wind and for the first time in several hours we are running with other people now, joking that this wasn't just a Candid Camera sort of thing and that in fact we were actually running a relay with OTHER people.
Next year while I will not be joining the team or probably joining in another similar type relay, I can be fairly certain that the team will be sandbagging next year and predicting very slow times to secure an early start time and more relaxing adventure, with other runners.
Thanks to my Appalachian Trail friend Keegan for joining me on the towpath section heading into DC along on his bike after not seeing him for almost a year.