Thursday September 11 – Friday September 12, 2014. Relay from Ames, IA to Iowa City, IA (TIffin,IA) 125 miles. 45 degrees, cold, rainy, cloudy; sun came out at the end of the day Friday.
BibRave Review first – personal recap at the bottom
The Rival Game Relay is a running relay before the Iowa / Iowa State football game. Teams of 5 -10 people will run from one location to the other, in various lengths with exchange points along the way. Runners could run any where from 3 miles to 8 miles, and on teams of 10 only needed to run twice.
Registration was available online. Price was per team, avg of $100 per runner. There were discount codes available before the race. Included with registration was a bib, t-shirt, post race beer and food, pint glasses, and port-o-potties & water on the course.
There was no expo, no specific packet pickup. However the team captain received emails and instructions on how to proceed. The bibs were provided at the start for car #1 and at exchange #7 for car #2.
Race / Course – The relay was through the back roads of Iowa.
- Safety was a priority, any participant on the roads from 7 pm to 7 am were required to wear a reflective vest and flashing lights, head lamp. Run against traffic.
- Black top roads, gravel roads – which were muddy
- Exchange points were labeled with a small sign near the ground, at each point runners were to write down the time they made it to the point
- Not every point had a bathroom – NOTE there were bathrooms, I wasn’t given the exact location
- some exchange points were dark with no lights
- no spectators – only those in your vehicle
- not all exchange point had an official – easy to cheat if you lost your “baton”
- Hazards – dogs, animals you can’t see in the dark, running along side roads with no shoulder, busy roads
- Water bottles at various locations
- cardboard boxes for trash along the route, also provided with a trash bag for each car
- no medics on the course
- bring your own food
Post Race- At the finish with a blow up arch, teams were encouraged to join the party. There was food provided by Wildwood Smokehouse, Bud & Bud Light tallboys, a rockin band, and the bags game. Prizes & awards were given away. The overall winner received glass pitchers. Random drawing prizes of Starbucks gift cards and Running Wild socks & race bucks. Then there were awards for best team spirit and that team won beer, their heaviest runners weight in beer.
Overall: The relay across the back roads of Iowa was fun. You don’t need to be a marathoner to participate. The price is affordable for everything provided. I would do this again, but I would make sure to form a team of people I know.
Personal: I wasn’t sure if I was even going to do this race. I helped the RD out with sharing discount codes and getting the word out. However I had a problem trying to get my own team together, as it’s hard to take off a Friday…as the alternative would be racing during the football game on Saturday. At one point I was going to run with a guy who wanted to run 70 miles, then needed 2 people to finish the rest, but that fell through, I was also asked to join another team, but was already committed to the 70 mile guy. So I sent an email and was added to team Corn Stalkers.
There were only 9 of us. I would be in van #2 as I had a Thursday night commitment in IC and would be arriving later. Van #1 had 6 runners, or the bulk of our team. I met Christine in Baxter, IA and waited for our 9th member to show up, Brian. He had things confused, thought the relay was the next day, so we caught up with him at Rock Creek State Park.
Van #1 rolled in just after 4 am, Christine took off in the dark to run leg #7. The members of van #1 said they lost our “baton” which was a slap bracelet as she was fending off a dog, they also had to pick up a runner as they were off course due to an old map.
I rolled to the next exchange point, ate some Honey Nut Cheerios, used the bathroom, and BAM, Christine was there. I wasn’t ready, but I had to go.
I started leg #8, 6.5 miles slowly I couldn’t get my head phones to stay in, I couldn’t get my radio station to stream…so I turned on my itunes on the phone and cranked the speaker. It was dark out there, so I ran faster, thoughts of crossing a skunk were on my mind. Then it started to mist, so it was kinda cold, then a guy passed me out of no where, so I really tried to run faster. It started to lighten up, and after some rolling hills I could see my car with the flashers in the distance. I had given well wishes to Christine and she was off, we were going to split Leg #9.
The rain had started to increase. I drove some random gravel roads, trying to navigate the directions and drive was fun! I met Christine at about the 4 mile mark of the leg. We switched off, and it was raining. This half of the leg was lots of rolling hills, no shoulder to run on, and windy. Thankfully I was only doing 3.8 miles.
It was 7:25, I met back up with my car at Rock Creek State Park, and there was Brian…he took off on a nice paved trail that ran parallel to the road. I stripped off my wet clothes, climbed into the car and turned on the heated seat.
We met back up with Brian and van #1 in Grinnell. Some one was also driving Christine’s car, so she could get back to Ames at the end. It was still raining. This is where van #1 would run their second 6 legs. Christine drove her car to our next starting point, Conroy. Brian and I stopped to use the bathroom and grab a donut & coffee.
We all met back up in Conroy. There was nothing at this exchange, we did not see the advertised bathroom in the park, and Christine wasn’t scheduled to start until after 2pm. We drove back to The gas station near the interstate, hung around, then drove back, napped, ate some food PB & J, veggies, peanut butter pretzels)…Then after waiting around, decided to drive to Tiffin to drop off Christine’s car, in some more rain.
By the time we arrived back to Conroy, there were finally some other teams and runners coming through. We cheered and waited. Then our runner came in and Christine was off to complete Leg #17 & #18.
We stopped at the exchange between the legs to check in on Christine, she was doing good, but said she may need to walk, there were a lot of hills on the mushy gravel. At the end of Leg #18, Christine was done for the day and Brian was out running his last leg.
We caught up with him at exchange #19, where he kept running to get in more miles than the 3 between the points. He was doing good and we left Oxford to meet Brian at Kent Park, where I would finish out the race.
In the mean time the sun had came out. It was actually nice to be out running. The strip of road between Kent Park and Tiffin is super busy, I do not recommend ever running on this stretch of road, unless of course drivers decide to actually share the road. I had a 4 mile segment to run.
I came into Tiffin as the last racer, I even pushed the pace to 8:30 / mile, my team was at the finish line…no one joined up with me to finish the relay as a team. I was given a pint glass. Then ushered to the finishers arch for a group photo as they immediately deflated it. I claimed my food & drink tickets.
My team then left me. They were all from Des Moines / Ames area and wanted to get back to a high school football game. I never had the chance to get to know anyone from van #1.
I grabbed my free beer, passed up the organ donation table, as I am already a registered donor. The race also raised money for the NephCure Kidney Foundation. Then I got my beef sandwich, chips and a cookie.
I sat alone at our group’s table under the tent at the post race party. I was cold, but enjoyed the live music and waited for the awards. My team would have won 2 random prize drawings, but they were to be present to win. I sat through the awards, I didn’t win anything. There was also a random prize giveaway through the organ donation people. It was sad…everyone was having fun with their teams. I went home.
I did enjoy the time running and getting to know Christine & Brian. The only thing I know about the other people is that they like to run, and they like their high school football.
It would have been nice to have run to Iowa City as well, but the logistics didn’t work. Also if there was University support for an actual rival feeling.
I would do a relay again, but I would make sure to run with people I know.