By its very nature, running and road racing is an individual sport. You win or you lose by yourself. Not so with the RetailMeNot Austin Marathon Relay.
The eighth annual marathon relay is the second largest in the country with more than 2,500 runners. The RetailMeNot Relay will be held on Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. at the start/finish line on Auditorium Shores.
Unlike most road races, this is a team event in the purest possible sense. The RetailMeNot Relay is a 26.2-mile standard marathon which is broken up into five separate legs: a 12-K followed by two 10-K’s and finishing with two 5-K’s. All the legs will hand off at the same start/finish line on Riverside, located near Auditorium Shores. All the legs will be downtown with the two longest leg going up and down Congress and looping around the Capitol before returning to the exchange on Riverside.
Race director Dave Swincher of Junior Achievement of Central Texas, expects 500 teams (and 2500 runners) from across the state, making the RetailMeNot Relay second only to the Beach to Bay Relay in Corpus Christi in terms of number of participants. Most of the teams consist of five runners, but some teams only have a couple (some runners are using the race as a long run workout) and usually there are even a few brave souls who do the entire race by themselves.
Once again, the beneficiary of the relay is Junior Achievement of Central Texas which is a non-profit dedicated to teaching high schoolers about business, finances and entrepreneurial skills.
Packet pick up begins Friday (September 22) from 3-6 p.m. at RunTex at 422 W. Riverside. On Saturday, packet pick up goes from 10-4 p.m. at RunTex. You can also register your team at RunTex, but there will be no race day packet pick up at Auditorium Shores
Team captains must pick up their team’s race packet on Friday or Saturday and distribute materials to each team member. At packet pick up, substitutions and switching the order of runners can be done.
For the second consecutive year, there will be a high school invitational as part of the relay. It’s called the Adidas High School Challenge and the first 26 teams that registered have been comped entry fees, shoes and gear from Adidas. Nice. All the high school teams will be running the same course as the rest of the field. There are separate categories for boys and girls teams, but all runners must be from the same high school.
Adidas is also sponsoring the Sub2 Challenge. Any team that can break two hours for the marathon relay will win $100,000. Rumor has one elite team is expected to mount a challenge for the $100K.
In the main race, there are 20 separate categories, including open men and women as well as all sorts of corporate teams.
The RetailMeNot Marathon Relay event record of 2:10:50 was set by Team Jack & Adam’s in 2009 and it could be broken this year, possibly by another team from Jack & Adam’s. There are several high-profile teams set to run and the race at the front should make for a fascinating battle in front of the thousands of spectators who will be gathered at Auditorium Shores.
For more info, go to www.austinmarathonrelay.com