Monday, May 4, 2009

Mayday Relay!

A few weeks ago, my friend invited me to run with her department (psych) in the Mayday Relay, a seven-leg relay race from Rutgers to Princeton on the towpath alongside the D&R Canal. I said, "Oh man, how awesome!!" and then "Oh hey, I could get my own department to do this, I bet!" So I did. Luc, Dan, and Dave from PPL joined Colin from Physics and Amanda, Dan's wife, with me to create a completely awesome relay team.

We drove up to New Brunswick early Sunday, May 3rd, in time to start the 10am race. Excitement was buzzing in the air, despite the misty rain and impending doom of downpour. The eleven teams were representing several graduate departments from Rutgers and Princeton.

I started the race for my team. I was SO nervous and somewhat dreading it. My fears did come true. We all started together, and immediately, everyone pulled ahead of me. Oh well. I kept pace for a while, and then just enjoyed the peacefulness of the misty towpath, which, up near Rutgers, was nice and gravely, and not muddy. My 3.7 miles ended with a less than graceful hand-off to Martin:

I am SO pleased with my time though: the official claim is that I ran 3.7 miles in 33:20, which amounts to about a whole minute faster than I train! I'm not sure I believe that! :)

We left Martin to run his four miles, and drove to the next exchange. The rain came down harder, and the trail got muddier, the farther south we traveled. This was a typical scene at the exchanges, although the crowd thinned the closer we got to the finish (as the runners spread out more):
Wet racers waiting eagerly for their runners.

We enjoyed getting to know more parts of the state park, including the many locks:
Jess and Amanda enjoy the locks.

Martin made great time and passed it off to Amanda:

A street ran through the next exchange, so Amanda came in one side:

and Dan left on the other:

At this exchange, one team's next runner ran...back the way we came. Huh. No one could figure out why she thought she should do that. Hey, we didn't complain--this means we moved from last to second to last!!!!

Isn't New Jersey pretty?
Pretty canal.

We got a bit bored at some exchanges. And wet. Luc was SO excited to find an umbrella:
How excited was Luc to find an umbrella?

Dan came in triumphantly:

and we said goodbye to Dave, one of the two serious (like half/full marathon) runners on the team:

Two horses rode by at one exchange...

...the one where Dave passed it off to Colin:
Dave passes off to Colin!

Colin did super well for us: he passed someone, moving us up to 3rd from last!

Sadly, I missed the last leg, as I had to shower and change for another event. Meg took this fabulous photo of Luc finishing the race:
Luc runs the final leg!

Luc passed ANOTHER person, and sprinted to the finish, giving us a team time of 3:31:43, and 8th place overall (4th from last!).

The relay ended at Princeton with a BBQ (indoors):
The Tired PPL Team

See official results here.

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