Last week I mentioned my theory that every team at Reach the Beach has a great idea to share, and asked you to contribute yours. Only a few of you did so, but you proved my point by coming up with several great ideas. The comments below also helped me realize something else: Few pieces of relay advice are universal. A great idea for one team may not make any sense for another. For that reason, I hope that you’ll all keep sharing your ideas and advice over the coming weeks so that we can get some varied opinions out here.
Thanks to Liz, Ryan, and Genevieve for taking the time to share the following advice:
re: food, I realized very early on that there was no way everyone would agree. Thus, everyone is instructed to bring their own food and if they want they bring one or two items that are shareable (i.e. a large pack of Twizzlers rather than a personal sized one), but no one shows up with a dozen bagels or five pounds of oranges. We also remind people that we can stop at a grocery store or minimart to supplement so people are less likely to overpack.
This is a great idea and one that I proposed to my team last year. With a number of folks flying in right before the race, however, they vetoed me and asked that a fully-stocked van pick them up at the airport. Instead, I suggested that people load up their bags with the food they wanted at the start—this, at least, helped cut down on midnight searches for the peanut butter and jelly.
tell people exactly what to bring. Each team member signs up for one or more items for the van (i.e. tissues, bandaids, baby wipes, etc) and there’s a specific quantity. That way you get the two garbage bags you need not an entire box of bags you’ll never use.
Waste can be a real problem when you’re shopping for 11 other people, and trying to project their needs. This is a simple way to eliminate the need to shop in bulk.
for a team that worries about sleep and showering, invest in two hotel rooms near the midpoint of the course. Each year we have booked two hotel rooms with two beds in each so that after each groups 1st or 2nd set of legs, you can go to the hotel, shower and sleep for 3-4 hours in a real bed. It’s a little tough to figure out logistically in terms of where along to course to book, but a shower and bedsheets are life changing after 18 hours in the van together. If you’re strategic, the first and second van can use the same rooms at the same hotel which cuts the cost down to about $15 per person.
Every runner should have two bags. One bag for the stuff you’ll need during the actual race and the other for stuff you only use before or after. So, in the van, the everyone’s race bag can be accessible and you can store the non-race bag somewhere else (on the bottom of the pile or in a rooftop carrier). In the race bag, have each of your three sets of running clothes stored in separate ziploc, which makes everything easier to find and then you have a ziploc bag to throw your sweaty clothes into after you change out of them.
I’ve always asked runners on my teams to limit themselves to one bag, because we’ve often had limited vehicle space. But if you’ve got a rack or a pod on your roof, this is a great way to keep your vehicle neater (and, maybe, even smelling a little better…)
A number belt, likes ones that triathletes use, can making transferring your number from your first top to your second to your third much easier than with safety pins.
I’ve managed to get pretty firm commitments from nine runners so far. I feel pretty good about that, but there’s still work to do. I need three more, plus some back-ups.
I’m told that the Massachusetts race is filling up, but there are still spots available. If you’ve been thinking about entering, don’t wait until it’s too late.
And if you want to meet and run with some fellow relay runners, check out this February 25 event in Boston: https://www.facebook.com/events/270771142992096/.