This past Sunday I experienced my first Ekiden relay race. I remember last year when I was justgetting into running and heard other “real runners” discussing the race and how it was a really cool event and how fun it was and how they do it every year. I had no clue. At that point I’m not even sure I knew what the Atlanta Track Club was (we all have to start somewhere, right?).
So it rolls around this year, and thanks to my Team in Training friends….they filled me in and needed a runner…I was able to participate 🙂 I knew I was taking someones place in the relay because the Nike Team had a 20 miler on Saturday and a few girls backed out. My only downside to the whole day is I said yes to running before kickoff time was announced for Auburn. Yep. 6:45 CST. OOPS. That lead to a 1 am bedtime and a 630 am wakeup call. I still had no idea what to expect-I was told to bring a cooler, change of clothes and $20. I arrive around 730 and the start line has lots and lots of tents and tailgates (much smaller than AU of course, but still cool for a race). Turns out Team in Training had several teams. There were 6 of us and we each ran around 3.4 miles. The cool thing about Ekiden is that the relay is changed off by teammates passing a sash. You have to pass the sash in a certain area or you are disqualified. And you must run in it. I must admit I felt kinda silly running down Piedmont with a neon sash but it was fun. On my team, I was the “E leg” of the race-so 5th runner. I believe I ran my leg around 29 mins. Not my best race, but I knew we weren’t going to place so it was okay. I definitely learned what we need to do next year to win (I know, way to competitive)–have to have a great tent, costume, team name, or be fast. And you can bet I will find a way to be one of them!!
So next up on the agenda was a big announcement on Tuesday from US Road Sports and Entertainment. I received a last minute email on Friday afternoon asking for participants in the unveiling of the new sponsor of the GA Marathon and 1/2 Marathon (used to be ING but they dropped the race after this last year). I offered to go to support Team in Training and wear our colors/logo because this is one of our Spring events and its nice to be out in the community. I was also excited to see who the sponsor was because I signed up for it back in April with no known sponsor. It was only $35 and I couldn’t resist. So around 1130 i headed down to Centennial Olympic Park for the 1/2 mile run, lunch and announcement. It was pretty obvious when we arrived because there were Publix tents and bags everywhere, but we still waited for the “official” word. It was kind of impressive. Not that I am a Falcons fan, but Freddie the falcon, a cheerleader and a player (again, not a fan so not sure who he was) along with city council members, media and Publix were there to support the unveiling. They had a dramatic drop down to show the new logo and we ran less than 1/2 a mile around the park. We each got a Tech T, race bib, lunch and water bottle just for coming. It seriously took less than an hour-including parking and wait time. Not a bad little lunch break. 🙂 And it really was cool to see how much effort they put into the announcement. I’m looking forward to seeing what Publix does for the race. As one of my friends said, “At least we know the food will be good.” Very true. See ya on 3-20-11 Publix.