Last week I got an E-Mail from a co-worker I'd never met or talked with (it was addressed to pretty much everyone in the company known to run more than a few steps) attempting to recruit a last minute replacement for his son's relay team. The language and message were ambiguous at best, but it seems to be saying that the relay team needed a sixth runner for a 36 mile relay. Hey, I can still run 6 miles so I volunteered that if they didn't mind a (not quite so) fat (as I used to be) old man who couldn't promise anything faster than a nine minute pace, I'd be happy to join.
Thursday morning the co-worker showed up at my desk and asked me to call his son immediately as the race was scheduled to start "tomorrow afternoon." That should have signaled all kinds of warning bells in my head, but as I was over the top busy getting a new release of a major system pushed out for testing, I didn't read too much into what he had said.
I finally called his son and found out that I had misinterpreted the original request, the relay team in question was a six person "Ultra" team for the purpose of running this year's installment of the 200+ mile New Hampshire Reach The Beach Relay, and he needed a sixth. No, I wrote that wrong, he was D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E for a sixth. I explained to him that the last time I'd run further than 16 miles in a 24 hour period was 1979, and while I might have enough miles under my belt to be able to survive running ~33 miles in roughly a day, I certainly didn't have my brain wrapped around running that far.
In the end, his desperation won the day and I agreed to join the team.
The relay itself was wonderful, well organized, scenic, very hilly, and very demanding. As one of my teammates said, "you run, stretch, eat, drive, run, stretch, eat, sleep, run, stretch, eat, repeat, and then party on the beach." If you're a runner with some good mileage under your belt and want to try something a little different, I cannot recommend the RTB series enough, I had a blast! Better still I managed to run my full series of legs totaling 32.8 miles at just under a nine minute pace.