One of the races I had marked as a bucket list run was the Market To Market Relay Race. This race is much like the Ragnar Relay Series minus the overnight running. The idea is that some 200 teams (that’s the cap) start out running from the Cincinnati area and go continuously until they reach Dayton. The race starts with a first wave going out at 5 a.m. and then roll through every 20 minutes until all teams have started. We were wave 5 and launched at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday 9/9/17.
The team was really a smaller group of our team from the Ragnar Relays. Made up of Karla Neeley, Stan Roberts, Amy Browning, Vicki Lynch, Patti Neeley and myself. We were part of the over 40 division…lol! Four of us were over 50 and two were at the tender age of 48! With all that experience and silliness, this was going to be epic!
Pre-dawn out of Milford, Ohio is when we started rolling. Amy would be the first of our Freaks On Parade (yeah…that’s our team name) to start the 76 mile hop to Dayton-town. I was excited right from the get go! The weather looked to be great, the winds were light and we had a touch of cloud cover hovering over us for the first part of the relay. 95% of the run was on a bike trail, so we didn’t have a lot of worry of vehicles flying by as we ran. The trail was covered by mature trees and had beautiful wild flowers along the route. Passing by small towns, parks, rivers and just stunning scenery was perfect!
There were 18 exchange sites that we needed to get to while a runner was out on the trail. This made for even more fun as you hit the back roads of Ohio and got to see towns that I’d never seen. I kept saying that it was hard to believe we were actually moving forward because it seemed like we were just driving in circles and around curvy roads. The exchange areas were anything from parks to a Big K or Kmart store…lmao! Everything was very well-organized and with Karla keeping track of everyone’s in and out times…how could we go wrong?!
While in the van there was plenty of time for chit-chat, laughter and of course snacks! If you run all the miles…you get to eat all the food! With each exchange, there was a new buzz of excitement. When a runner returned from their leg, they’d share what they had seen on the run, how many runners that might have passed and conversation they had along the route. Sharing the experience was fun and let you enjoy what your teammate went through while running the trail. As for passing other runners. In the Ragnar Relay Series, this is referred to as a “Kill”. Well, being that we were running to raise awareness and funds for Blackjack Animal Rescue, it just didn’t feel right calling it a “Kill”. So the idea of calling it a “Wag” developed…lol! We believe in no kill shelters for all dogs so it was agreed upon that if you passed another runner, it was a “Wag”! I can tell you that we had quite a few Wags along the way! Very proud of my team! To go with the theme, we had a mini-van with a giant blow up dog strapped to the roof and Patti drew several super cute dogs on the windows of our van. Karla had purchased dog balloons to add to the fun. We ended up tying them to the back seat and every time we opened the hatch of the van, out popped the dogs! Just “letting the dogs out” is what I’d say at a stop!
Once we got into the Dayton area and everyone had finished their run other than Patti, she was our clean-up or our Final runner that would cross the finish line. We collected the dog balloons, waited for her to be about .02 miles away from the finish and ran to the finish line with our dogs in tow. It was big fun and I’m sure had people chuckling as we came in. Once we finished, our next mission was to find some cute kids and pass the dog balloons off to them. What kid doesn’t like a balloon?! Mission Accomplished! Some of the sweetest little faces were thrilled to receive a balloon to take home with them. I’m smiling just typing this and thinking about the adorable little girl that I gave my balloon to.
Once we got back to our hotel, everyone was absolutely spent from the day. We shared a quiet dinner together at our hotel, enjoyed adult beverages together and shared more stories from the day. This adventure turned out to be everything I could have hoped for and more! Everyone got along so well, ran like the wind and enjoyed the experience. 76 miles covered in under 12 hours. We ran an average pace of 9:05 minute miles. No one was injured and everyone had a blast!
We took quite a few pictures and of course shared all the van pics with Blackjack Animal Rescue. I’m hopeful that people get to know Blackjack better and understand the fine work they’re doing to save pups! I’d love it if anyone could throw a few bucks their way in honor of this fun-filled race! blackjackrescue.org. Even $5.00 can make a difference in a dog’s life.
Thanks for following the Run Zombie Run group and for taking the time to read about the adventures of the Freaks On Parade!
I’ll see you on the road!