iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk, Calgary, AB

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail, Ontario

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick, New Brunswick

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza, British Columbia

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve, Ottawa, ON

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey, British Columbia

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung, British Columbia

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts, Ontario

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua, Caledon, ON

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk, Vancouver, BC

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell, Nova Scotia

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil, Lombardy, ON

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu, Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard, Alberta

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville, Ontario

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle, New Brunswick

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson, British Columbia

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis, Ontario

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird, Ontario

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase, Nova Scotia

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling, Ottawa , ON

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava, Calgary, AB

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott, Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie, St-Antoine, NB

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan, Brampton, ON

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker, Etobicoke, ON

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua, Ontario

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx, Ontario

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie, Ontario

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley, Stittsville, ON

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel, Calgary, AB

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan, Brampton, ON

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch, Ottawa, ON

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas, New York

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette, Carp, ON

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean, Ontario

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton, British Columbia

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan, Ottawa, ON

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes, Ontario

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier, Gatineau, QC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris, Winnipeg, MB

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde, Alberta

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie, Yukon

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka, Alberta

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra, Ontario

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter, Clearwater , BC

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott, Quťbec

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer, Quebec

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

April 2012

Back to Table of Contents


Passing the baton...err the timing chip

Relay runners team up

Relay running is picking up speed across the country. Perks can include jaw-dropping scenery, a chance to run with others for a charitable cause, or a shake-up of your routine. You’ll be running a section of a race as member of a team—but that’s just part of the picture. Relays can be half marathons where each runner does 5K or less, or extreme events like the Canadian Death Race where teams face five gruelling 19-38K legs. Relay options in races like Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30K are popular road runs, while scenic highway races such as the 276.33K Cabot Trail Relay or trail runs like the Squamish 50 let you explore without doing the whole distance.

iRun with my team

Bridget Mallon organized a team of eight men and women for the 2011 Winterman Marathon Relay in Ottawa after watching her brother-in-law race in New York City. “I came home and felt so inspired by his marathon,” she says, “and joked that I could say I’d run a marathon if I did the relay. It was also a reason to keep running through the winter.” Despite a race day temperature of -15, Team Mallon came in third in the Relay Mixed 8. “None of us had ever run a relay,” recalls Mallon; “everybody had a great time.”

Susan Briggs and Alida Kvellestad formed a team of 10 women for the 2012 Kananaskis 100 Mile Relay Race. Briggs says that after completing 10 solo half marathons in 2011, “I thought the next goal had to put the fun back into running.” The K-100 was nearby, with “doable” distances of 9.4-18.6K, through a 2206-metre-high mountain pass and the stunning Kananaskis Valley.

One of the runners Briggs called on was Cori Nicholls. “I’ve never done a relay before,” says Nicholls, “so the thought of working as a team was a little daunting, but so far it’s proving to be a really positive experience.”

Blair Shunk has run relays since 1988, when he first ran the Jasper to Banff Relay. “I did it once and I was hooked,” he says. He’s now race director for the reorganized Banff Jasper Relay, but still runs it. He’s also done the Canadian Death Race relay, the K-100 and others. “It’s a really unique experience, just because of the camaraderie,” he says.

There’s a relay for everyone

Some, like the 100k Rum Runners Relay from Halifax to Lunenburg, put the emphasis on fun, while others, like Alberta’s Sinister 7 Ultra and Relay, offer rugged terrain and endurance challenges galore. If supporting a good cause is your thing, you have dozens of relays to choose from, like the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Sears Great Canadian Run Relay to End Kids’ Cancer or the Cst. Bruce Hadley Relay Run for Heart.

Once you’ve chosen a relay, you’ll need to find a team, train for and run it. Here’s how:

Use your networks

To build a team, ask fellow runners, friends and family. Many races host online forums for runners to find teams or teams to put a call out for runners.

Briggs says it took just six days to find her 10 team members. “I thought it would probably take us several months,” she says. “There’s definitely a lot of interest out there.”

Plan for contingencies

Mallon had to scramble to find replacement team members when several realized the race was on a holiday weekend. She had substitutes, “but they couldn’t run either.” She managed to find enough runners, just days before the race.

Check in advance whether your race allows substitutions or one runner to do more than one leg.

Play to team members’ strengths

Teams need to decide who will run which leg, but team organizers might not have a good sense of everyone’s strengths. Briggs asked team members for their first, second and third choices, and tried to match their abilities to race segments. Mallon says people’s availability was also a consideration.

Maximize the team experience

Ultimately, teamwork is what makes relays different from solo races. “The team is depending on you,” observes Shunk. “You want to make sure you do your best on that day.” Mallon notes that friendly competition among teammates helped everyone do well.

It’s inevitable that team members will train on their own for the most part, but Mallon doesn’t think that’s a problem, since most are preparing for other races anyway. Still, she suggests, “If you can organize a team training run just for fun, I think that’s great for team building.”

Briggs’ team is spread across southern and central Alberta and B.C., so she’s set up a Facebook group for people to keep in touch, and looking for opportunities to get them together. Not everyone on Mallon’s team knew each other, so Mallon had to be at every exchange between runners, which kept her busy on race day.

Captain that team

Team captains need to register the team, arrange logistics and support vehicles, and communicate with members. As well, says Briggs, “I’m making sure that I’m touching base with everybody, keeping them excited and motivated.”

But don’t lose sight of the fun in the midst of organizing. Shunk advises, “Don’t be overwhelmed by the commitment. It all sort of falls into place once you get out there.”

Rich returns

“If you’re used to doing one kind of race, try a relay,” suggests Mallon. “Because racing can be a solo endeavour, it’s nice to do something as a team.”

“Relays are the biggest team-building experience,” says Shunk. “It’s the most uplifting experience because your team members are out there cheering you on.” That’s a plus for Briggs: “I haven’t run anything with this difficulty rating before. But part of me just thinks that with that support group there, I’m just going to motor through it.” She adds, “A relay is a really good way to share that love of the sport with other people.” “In the end, it’s all a matter of just having fun, meeting new people,” says Nicholls, “and doing something really healthy for my daughters, showing them that being active doesn’t have to be a chore.”

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