(photo by author, May 2, 2010, Provincetown, MA)
On May 1st and 2nd, 12 New York City Frontrunners, the LGBT running group, participated in the 13Relay Cape Cod relay race that left from Boston and ended in P-town, coming in 8th out of 200 teams. That isn't just out for a leisurely stroll, that is hard-core pounding the pavement with a determination to shred the competition. You could insert light-in-the-loafers jokes here but from a novice runner participating with this group for the first time, it is obvious that these men and women have dedicated themselves to the spirit of hardcore competition, teamwork, and the training and perseverance needed to make them winners.Unlike most of my teammates, I've never raced in a relay like the one we did this past weekend. Most of them run the yearly "Reach the Beach" relay that runs through New Hampshire in the fall and knew what to expect which helped me get over the constant angst of trying to figure out how the relay was going to work and how in the Hell I was going to run all these miles without rest.
The crux of this relay is the consistent running of various lengths of race legs done by each member, concurrently, over the course of more than 24 hours. It worked out that we each ran about 17-20 miles over the course of whole race, which ended up being about one leg about every eight hours. While one of our team was running, the rest of us were chasing them in on of our two vans to the exchange point where our next runner would take up the baton and carry on, trying to overtake the competition.
We started on Saturday morning out of Quincy, MA and ran all day in the sun through the back-roads and towns of the Massachusetts and Cape Cod coast. When night came, we all had to don our reflective vests, lights, and head-lamps and continued plugging along the course map, keeping up with our exchanges with our team mates and trying to keep everyone hydrated and motivated. Dawn on Sunday brought the final few legs of the race and found us close to the lead in the race. The Cape's beautiful scenery quickly changed to the familiar sand dunes and the vacation houses of Provincetown, with the last runner bolting down Bradford Street to a spectacular finish with all of us waiting for him. All in all, we ran consistently for twenty-nine hours and covered 201 miles along the way.
It was an amazing introduction to a fantastic team and LGBT organization. I would highly recommend anyone interested in getting involved to check out the Frontrunners. They have weekly trainings and fun runs that accommodate beginners through experts and have built a very integrated, well organized, well-respected organization that NYC can be proud of. Supposedly next year 13Relay is doing a New York run so get out there and start training now.