This morning was the Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay. My relay team originally consisted of me, my friend Joan, my friend Dave and Laura. Unfortunately, Laura injured herself and wasn’t able to run it. I have to admit, I was a little worried when she told us that she couldn’t run. If we weren’t able to find a fourth person, one of us would have to do two legs of the race and I was the only one that was trained to do so. The rules stated that if you ran two legs, you had to do them consecutively, so if I had to do that, I would have had to run 12.3 miles. Fortunately, Mark offered to take Laura’s place so it all worked out in the end. (Thanks again, Mark!)
The race started and finished at Atlantic Station – an outdoor mall in Midtown. Out of the four of us, only Mark had done a relay before. Dave, Joan and I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Our relay order was:
Leg 1 – Me – 5.5 miles
Leg 2 – Dave – 8.4 miles
Leg 3 – Joan – 5.1 miles
Leg 4 – Mark – 7.2 miles
We picked our legs based on what mileage we wanted to run, but I definitely got the best deal running the first leg. Everyone else had to take shuttle busses to their respective transition areas and wait around for a long time in the cold. And when I say long time, I mean a really long time. Mark, doing the final leg, had to wait over three hours!
It was cold at the beginning, probably around 38 degrees but I felt okay. My portion of the race went from Midtown into Downtown which is not an area that I run often, so I enjoyed taking in the sites. There were some hills, but really only one major one. The race was well organized and there were clocks at most of the mile markers (not mile 5 for some reason) and water stops every two miles.
It’s pretty nice to run 5.5 miles after running 13.1 the weekend before because it really did fly by. Before I knew it, I was at the transition and ready to hand off my timing slap bracelet (yes, a slap bracelet, like we had when we were kids!) to Dave. I’m not sure of my exact time, but I think it was in the 56 minute range. After Dave took off, I got in line for a shuttle bus that took me back to Atlantic Station.
Once we arrived, I immediately went to Starbucks to get a warm beverage. Lots of runners had the same idea and it was crowded, but I managed to get a seat. I sat there for about 40 minutes, enjoying the warmth before I went back outside to wait for Dave. While I was waiting, I saw the first marathoner finish in 2:34! Crazy talk. I can barely run a half marathon in that time.
Eventually, more and more runners started to finish so I made my way down to the finish line to watch while I was waiting for Joan and Mark. I know some people think that watching a race is boring, but I found it very exciting to be at a marathon finish line. I even got a little choked up at times. I’m kind of a sap.
I managed to see Kristy cross the finish line. I don’t think she heard me but I cheered for her. And about five minutes after, Mark crossed the finish line. Our total team time was 4:11 which is a 9:35 pace. Fine with me!
All in all, it was a fun experience but I’m not sure if I’d do a relay again. Even though you are part of a team, you never really get to see your teammates and it’s kind of lonely. Plus, there is a lot of waiting. On the flip side, it’s fun to participate in excitement of the marathon festivities without actually having to run 26.2 miles.