The Run to the Sun Relay Race….. It’s hard to explain this run to anyone … but it’s not like any other race I’ve participated in. The goal isn’t about winning the race — in fact, it’s just the opposite. Each team starts off at different times so we can all END at the same time (or close to the same time). We didn’t have race numbers or chip timers. We just ran on the open roads of the Texas hill country. There were many times in the beginning where you may not even see another runner or you’d see them but only from a distance. Each team committed to run 95 miles from Enchanted Rock near Llano, Texas to Laguna Gloria in Austin, Texas. Our hope is to find a cure for Batten Disease (a fatal, inherited disorder of the nervous system that typically begins in childhood. When I can’t say things with pictures, I find a video will explain why our team did this race. http://vimeo.com/45083203).
Team Hope had 12 members — 11 runners and one very awesome RV driver. Some of our team members ran one leg, others took two legs. We ran from 3:30 in the afternoon until 7 in the morning. How did we get from point a to point b? A 48 foot RV that we named Big Bertha. Our RV driver? My awesome husband. I am so proud of how he maneuvered our rig through those tiny little one-lane highways with eleven backseat drivers. And he cheered everyone on at all the exchange points with the rest of the team and even ran the last part of my leg with me. Our team was so very lucky to have his support. Plus, he even dressed like a bunny on Easter Sunday to raise money for our team! If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is.
Who provided support during the race itself? Our team and sponsors of the exchange points. The exchange points were so fun — it’s where you’d meet your next runner and your team would pick you up! In between the exchange points if you needed water, your team would stop and wait for you — and then cheer you on the hill you were about to conquer. There were 16 exchange points and each provided its own form of decoration, entertainment, and food. I can’t remember them all because I’m still pretty sleepy — but I remember the crawfish boil, breakfast tacos, fresh kolaches and warm cookies. We also could grab a beer, wine, fancy teas, real old fashioned cokes, fanta and almost any other drink you can imagine. Some exchange points had live music while others had a movie showing. One of my favorite parts of each exchange point is that they had inspirational quotes on stickers that we got to keep. They now line the mirror in our bedroom.
How did we see when running in the pitch black? LED powered baseball caps that we found in our runner’s swag. What did we do in between our legs? We talked and ate and talked some more. Some people danced, some people sang and a few managed to close their eyes for a little cat nap. What was the race itself like? It was tough. Each leg of the race had its own challenges — and they all seemed to have a steady incline. It truly was one of the most difficult races I’ve participated in and I barely ran six and a half miles. Will I do this race again? Yes, indeed I will. Should you? Yes, because life is about creating memories and building relationships with others. If that doesn’t get you going, then go for the challenge of running, or drive an rv, or cheer us on in the rv.
As we neared the end, you could really feel the excitement and see how many teams participated in this race. Each team raises as much money as humanly possible — our team came in second and considering that we had 12 people raising money, we were awesome with our combined total of twenty five thousand dollars. The overall event raised $209,000. There was a wonderful celebration at the end with massages and a gospel choir and donuts straight from heaven and all the coffee you could drink!
Here are a few snapshots from my phone from the race (and you can see we had a little car trouble in the beginning but thanks to cowboy Curtis and a quick phone call, we were back on the road in no time).