Run;Drive;Sleep? Repeat…

And that’s exactly what we did, well minus the sleep part. I just spent the last weekend having the most fun I have ever had while running. In a moment of insanity I agreed to be part of a team that thought it would be fun to run 199miles non stop as a 12 man Relay Team. The event? The Ragnar Relay Washington DC! The race began in Cumberland, MD along the C&O Canal and meandered through the mountains of West Virginia, passing back into the country roads of Maryland through Hagerstown, Frederick, Gaithersburg and other such areas until we reached RFK stadium in Washington DC.

The team of 12 split into two vans and set off on the epic journey home. Our team began at 8:30am on Friday morning when runner number 1 from van 1 (my van) set off in a light drizzle from Cumberland passing off to each of the remaining van members at 3-8 mile intervals. My first leg (of 3) took place at 12 noon. My goal…a 1700ft climb over 8.2miles, no exaggeration. I now consider Greenbelt National Park as flat. The leg I managed to get landed with was by far the hardest on the course and when I finally crawled over the exchange point and snapped the stylish snap-on wrist band to the next runner I was surrounded by my proud teammates. I got so much kudos from my team as well as all those around me that the MOUNTAIN that I just conquered almost seemed worth it. I now had around 9 hours until my second leg so into the van I jumped as we stopped at various parts of the route along the way to encourage our other team mates. Once van 1 had finished their first leg it was time for van 2 to take over. We had time to grab some dinner and do some cheering along the way. We even made S’mores at one of the exchange points (a particular highlight of mine).

Night fell and it was time for my van’s second leg. On with the night gear which consisted of a rather fetching head lamp, reflective vest and butt light. Leg by leg, each runner made their way along their section of a very very very dark country road. This part was a little scary but keeping sight of someone else’s butt light off in the distance lead to me completing my 3.8 mile leg in my fastest time ever (32 minutes). The scary darkness made me run like the wind. I did have my trusted team mates stopping at points along the way for support and safety. My van finished their second leg around midnight and it was time to let van 2 take their turn – poor van 2.

Now it was time to catch a few Z’s before we were on the move again for our third and final leg. Van 2 would be just fine without us. We managed to squeeze in a full 2-3 hours sleep (in the van) until 4am came around and we were off on our third and final legs. My final leg took place around 7am and was a nice easy early morning run. Believe it or not I was feeling pretty good despite having 3 hours of sleep in a van before hand AND having already ran not just once but TWICE the previous day. Adrenaline alone was fueling my body as I completed my final 3.7 mile run in a very respectable time considering the circumstances. I handed off to the next runner and within another 30 minutes, van 1 had finished all three legs. It was time to grab some breakfast, support Van 2’s remaining legs then roll up at RFK Stadium to complete the run.

We finally crossed over the finish line around 3:15pm and were greeted by pizza and cold beer – perfect! The atmosphere for the full 30 hours was electric, the support from team mates and all other teams in the relay (170 teams in total) was out of this world and every one of us said we can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Next adventure…..The Marine Corp Marathon!

Keep on Running

Elaine Bond


2 Responses

  1. Elaine, I can’t decide if you are crazy or inspirational. In the spirit of PGRC, I’ll go with inspirational. LOL Seriously, it actually sounds like a lot of fun (minus the mountain). Good for you!!!

  2. I will have to second Cass’ response here. That isn’t something I’d ever dream of doing, but you make it sound fun!

    Good luck at Marine Corps!

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