Christmas Relays – 2014

Put this race on your calendar next year. It will only be one week after the USATF Cross Country Nationals, so we’ll all be in good shape for it.

Sunday was a glorious day for running. The rain stopped. The skies were clear and the air had that fresh scent that only happens after a cleansing rain. It’s been seven years since I had done a Christmas relay race and I’m betting that it has been at least that long for other Spartans. It is easy to pass on this race since it happens at such a busy time of year. There’s always a party the night before that makes getting up the next morning hard. But if you do, it is well worth it.

This is probably the most fun race of the year. At any time during the race, 3/4 of the runners are not racing. Most are warming up, warming down or milling around the finish line/passing zone. There is a festive party like atmosphere that was enlivened by the 21st Amendment Brewery truck which dispensed two beers (included in the entry fee) to all runners over 21. There was also a food truck if you wanted breakfast or lunch.

The course was not as flat as I remembered it. The first mile is uphill, but not too bad since the adrenalin is pumping. You can make up time on the downhill portion of the second mile. The third mile is an ever so slight uphill that gradually saps your momentum. There is a bit of a reprieve on the fourth mile, which is mostly flat with a little bit of downhill. The last half mile of the 4.464 mile course is an uphill that slows even the fastest runners.

I ran the first leg in the middle of the pack and passed off to Mike Buzbee, who passed about 20 runners to move us up. Sal Martinez, who was the last minute replacement for Art Sanchez, ran a fine third leg to keep us in good position. Francisco Verduzco anchored and was able to hold off the Tamalpa B team.

We finished third out of five teams in our 60+ division. Tamalpa’s A team was first in 2:03. Second went to the Mad River runners, a team of former standouts at Humboldt State, in a time just under 2:16. Our time was 2:23 and Tamalpa B was 2:29. Overall, we were 140th place out of 208 teams.The highly desirable Christmas relay mugs went to Tamalpa’s A team. This is based on a formula that awards mugs to the top 20% of teams (based on the number of teams that finished the previous year). With only five teams in our division this year, the mugs will only go to the first place team again next year.

Keep Running. Have a Happy Holidays and Goooooo Spartans! – Paul Togas

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