While multi-day relays have exploded in popularity, there's one nearby relay next month that tops all the rest - at least in distance over 24 hours.
The second annual New England Relay on June 22 and 23 covers 220 miles and 36 legs while traveling through all six New England states.
I was curious about how it managed to do that.
The field, which is comprised of teams of 12 or six runners, sets off from Glocester - located in the extreme northwest corner of Rhode Island. It then crosses over into the northeast corner of Connecticut before heading into Massachusetts. That's three states in just a few miles.
The runners then head west before turning north and hugging the Connecticut River towards Amherst and then on to Brattleboro, Vt. Then it's east across the width of New Hampshire to Manchester. The last legs take the runners to the New Hampshire Seacoast and Portsmouth before crossing over into Kittery, Maine and the finish. Exact details of the course were set to be released to the teams on Thursday.
In addition to the team competition, one runner on each team will also run three legs that total 26.2 miles. They will also compete in the marathon division where there is a prize for the fastest marathon time. Last year it was 2:33.
If that makes you think the teams that do this have some fast runners you would be right.
They have to because organizers require the teams to average no more than 9:00 per mile in order to complete the course in the allotted time. Teams that fall behind have to skip a leg. In the inaugural race in 2011 (there was no race last year), the winning team averaged 6:55 miles.
If you're interested the entry fee is $1,250. More information is at www.newenglandrelay.com.
And one of the great things about relays, is you get to name your team. I think some teams spend more time on this than the actual training. Some of the great team names from the first edition of this race included "Who Moved the Finish Line?", "Too Run to Drunk" and my favorite "Gunga Galunga," one of the many great lines uttered by assistant greenskeeper Carl Spackler. If you don't know who Spackler is, we have little to talk about.
On the schedule
Today the 13th annual Delaney Dash, will be held at 9 a.m. at the Fort at Saybrook Point on College Street in Old Saybrook. The certified four-mile run serves as the USATF-CT 4-Mile Championship Race. There is also a 1.6-mile Causeway Walk.
The race is in memory of local running standout Sean Delaney who died in May of 2000 at the age of 42 after a six-year battle with cancer. Race proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for Old Saybrook High School seniors that has awarded more than $30,000 to date.
The 8th annual Runners in support of Education, 5K and two-mile walk will be held today at 10 a.m. the North Stonington Grange fairgrounds on Wyassup Road. There's even an 80 and older division.
The Mystic Moonrun will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. at the at the Harp & Hound pub in downtown Mystic. The 3 mile course is along the Mystic River and the walk is 1 mile. All proceeds go to the American Stroke Association. For information call Kathy Banks at 860- 536-8352.
The 5th annual Memorial Day Bearathon 5K will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the Mystic branch of the Ocean Community YMCA. All proceeds from the race will benefit the Stonington High School Classes of 2013 and 2015 and the Pawcatuck VFW. More information is at www.shsbearathon.com.
The Pawcatuck Lions Club 12th annual 5K Road Race is will be held June 1 at 10 a.m. from Donahue Park behind C.C. O'Brien's Pub on Mechanic Street in Pawcatuck.
Online entry by today is at www.RunReg.com/events, and $20 the day of the race.
Joe Wojtas is The Day's running columnist