Well, it's that time of year again. To me, October always symbolizes the best time for racing. Whether it's the Twin Cities Marathon or Des Moines Half Marathon, there is plenty of good racing to be had by runners all over the Midwest who have put in a large base over the summer and have tuned up with workouts in the months of August and September. One fairly new race that always make my calendar in October is the Market to Market Relay. I'm not sure if it was inspired by the Ragnar Relay series or not, but the directors of this race have found a way to make it work for the past seven years.
The idea behind the race is that it is a relay race made up of six-to-eight members who run between two and four legs each, with distances that vary from two-to-six miles per leg. The race was named after the origin/destination locations where teams start in the Old Market of Omaha, NE and finish in the Haymarket of Lincoln, NE. Since the original race, the directors have branched out to relays in both Iowa and Ohio.
This will be my fourth time participating in the Market to Market Relay, and I've enjoyed every single one. The first time was in 2010 as part of my Nebraska Wesleyan University XC/Track Alumni team. Even as a mixed team, we placed third overall by averaging 6:06 miles and still hold the course record (based on pace since the total mileage changes) for the Academic division. In 2011, our six person team was neck and neck with another top team, that officially ended in a tie (ask me later if you want the full scoop). The average pace of our all men's team that year was 5:40. I was extremely happy with how our 6-person team competed against a team with more runners (it definitely is a disadvantage to have six runners versus eight runners). Then just last year, our men's team averaged 5:23/mi pace for the entire race, which smashed the previous record held.
This year will be a blast, but with so much interest among the LRC Racing team in running this race, I have relegated myself to the "all-time driver". Although I am more than happy to let my teammates compete, part of me will miss actually competing in (at least two of) the stages. At the same time, I will be looking ahead to a PR at the Des Moines Half Marathon.