|Sam & Jason exchanging the Yellow Bracelet|
What made this rely race different compared to all the other relay races out there, was that after all the runners from van 1 or 2 finished their legs there was a mandatory stop/break. This was done, for good reason, there were only 8 teams! And each team was at different pace/speed, we had the lead group averaging a 6:15pace and the rest of us were between 8:30-10:00min/paces! So this allowed the organizers to get the volunteers at their spots with more ease as well as the police who were there to guide our teams in the middle of the night! So when we all regrouped we were allowing the volunteers to regroup as well as it allowed all the teams to get together and meet and talk! This made the experience even a little bit more fun.
|Niki Running into exchange/break|
|Hanging out at van exchange/break|
Our break/regrouping point was at the Eubanks welcome center in Piedmont, AL. The people that were there were very welcoming to having a whole bunch of runners come and invade their center. We were camped out on the floors of the center and outside. But soon 6pm rolled around and it was go time again.
|And van 1 starts again!|
I got to lead off van 1, and the nice thing about that was even though we were going into night time runs, it was 6pm so it was not dark yet!! I lucked out!! But as the race continued it did get darker out for our van runners and for van 2 it was the middle of the night! Our runners had yet again great runs, with the only 1 runner missing mis-hap! Jason's 4mile run turned into a 8 mile run after missing one of the turn signs, but he wasn't alone another team was right with him. But special thanks to the awesome race director Kirk he just allowed our teams to drive to next exchange site to keep with the flow. After our 6 runners finished with our legs we met up with the other teams and van 2's for our break/re-group time. Van 2 was set to start at Midnight! And we were there to wish them luck as they started their midnight runs!!
|Van 2 runners start @ midnight|
But....we were not off to a hotel for a quick few hours or sleep or shower...no we were off to exchange point #25 to check teams in! Our team had to volunteer to exchange points, we had hoped to have some of our non-runner friends to donate their time, but that didn't happen. So it was up to us. When we got to the exchange point we tried to sleep as best as we could. Some in the van some of the ground! Me, I took the ground and I may have gotten 1-1.5hours of sleep. But just enough to be able to keep going until late Saturday afternoon. But as we slept, Danielle stayed awake to see the 1st team of runners come and go and then waited another 45mins or so for the rest of the groups to come through.
|Van 1 @ exchange #25|
After the last runner came and went we packed up and went to the next van meet up spot. Which would be where I would start my final leg of the Dixie 200. Just a 2.75mile run starting at 5am. I say just 2.75miles but my oh my was that the tightest run ever!! Something about no sleep, being in a van and being up for 24+hours I guess does that to you! But I knew the end was near. When we got to exchange #27 we met up with van 2 which was volunteering at that exchange! and oh man they looked tired!! of course they were just up running during the middle of the night!!
The final van exchange break point was at the Morgan Vineyards! and let me tell you the heat and sun had come out! Again I felt lucky for our van as we did not have that bad of weather for our runs but van 2...they had the grunt of it. But with these final 6 legs we would be getting into Oak Mountain State park and the finish line!!
|Van 2 @ exchange #27|
|The Girls of the Dirty Dozen|
Having these mandatory Breaks were a great part to this experience! It made getting to know other runners and even those in our group better! I know that typically relay races are not like this, but it was a great added touch.
Part 2 is over...will get to the final part and the finish very soon!!