You might remember that last year, I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay with my Oiselle gals. We had so much fun last year, that we decided to do it again. We had sixteen women and four teams and SO much fun!
The race takes place mostly in Algonkian Park out in Sterling, VA although we also spent some time on the Potomac Heritage Trail. The day was rough, in terms of weather. There was rain, cold temperatures, a bit of snow and heavy wind. But never mind that, because you know 2016 is the year of cold races for me (see Shamrock and Cherry Blossom)! The way the relay works is that each team of four sends out one of its runners one at a time. We all wore an ankle strap that kept our time logged and then once we came back, we’d pass off the strap to the next runner. Our first runners were Elena, Mandy, Colleen and me. We started out and instantly were running through a muddy, wet marsh. And that was just the beginning. As we ran through the course and eventually popped on the Potomac Heritage Trail, the fun really started.
Over the river and through the mud, we went. And I do mean mud. You can see in the picture above all the mud on my legs and shoes (I ended up leaving the shoes there because they were totally ruined – but I’d anticipated that so was prepared). At one point (well, actually at many points), I was just cracking up because I was literally just sliding around on the mud, unable to get my footing. I was pleasantly surprised to run my leg way faster than last year, even though the mud was WAY worse. I think the difference is that on the runnable areas, I really ran as hard as I could. I ran the leg (which was just a bit under the 10k mark) in 57:46, which I will totally take in a cold, rainy, MUDDY trail run!
The best thing about the race (just like last year) is how much fun we had hanging out as a team. The conditions were bad, but honestly, that just makes the story more badass, in my mind. I highly recommend signing up for this one and it has turned into a fun annual Oiselle team event.
In terms of the results – my team finished in 3:38:05 and our fastest team finished in 3:18:18 (25th overall). Our other two teams finished in 4:16 and 4:28. I would take any of those times as a marathon time, and I’m so proud of our gals for really pushing on a tough day. Best.day.ever. I can’t wait for next year!
Have you run a relay race?