Relay Iowa is an extreme relay run across the state of Iowa. Starting in Souix City and continuing non-stop to Dubuque, at 337 miles, it is the longest relay in the world. Relay Iowa is the vision of Bill Raine, a former team member who chose to channel his passion into an event to benefit the ministry God has given to Restoring Hope in South Africa. He and his family have put countless hours into the event over the past few years. Their work has paid off, as it has grown from 4 teams each of the first two years to 11 teams this year.
Bill and his team allowed us to greet the runners as they came in. Instead of medals for each participant the organizers decided framed team photos would be so much more valuable for the memories. So we were able to hand out the photos to each team member. In addition, our four oldest girls at Restoring Hope Village had made bracelets to give to the runners. So we were able to share with them the work of RHI as well as a token thank you for their efforts.
As the teams came in we saw lots of camaraderie, teamwork, pain and laughter. Some of them had stories to share. Here are a few:
1. One runner pulled a hamstring a week before the run. But runners are different people. He wouldn't pull out of the relay. So he ran his share of the 337 miles with his leg looking like this. I apologize for the brevity of the shorts. Like I said, runners are different.
2. From injuries before the run to injuries during the run...just after the start in Souix City one runner stepped on a broken piece of glass. The glass punctured his shoe and went into his foot. He pulled off the shoe and continued running barefoot as he completed his first leg of the relay. As he ran he tried to pull the glass out of the shoe but his hands were too sweaty and he couldn't. So without stopping he used his teeth to pull the broken chunk out of the sole of his running shoe. During his break a nurse on their team bandaged up his foot and he continued the relay.
4. As we were passing out the team photos at the finish one runner came to us with a soggy $20 bill. As they were running a drunk guy on a bike rode alongside for awhile to talk. They told him what they were running for and he pulled out a $20 and gave it to the runner. Wearing spandex (which typically comes without pockets) the runner had to be creative where he put the money as he ran. Which explains its soggy condition. We made sure to pass that along to Jill Raine as quickly as possible so as not to have to hold it too closely ourselves:-)
Here are a few pictures from the 3 days across Iowa. If you'd like to see more you can find them on Relay Iowa's Facebook page. Next year we need to push it up to 20 teams or more running for Restoring Hope. Consider putting together a team yourself or contact Relay Iowa and they will place you with another team that needs runners. If I was here I would be doing it myself...as long as there were at least 15 other people on my team...maybe I'd settle for a few Ethiopians or marathoners that could take 5 miles of my 6 mile shifts.
|Everyone is excited for the start|
|So much energy on day one!|
|Thank goodness for AAA and jumper cables|
|Early morning running|
|More Iowa farms|
|Knee High by the Fourth of July|
|Waiting for the handoff|
|Small town running|
|Rural = Beautiful|
|Running day and night|
|Not exactly a spectator sport, but you encourage the ones you love|
|Each team had their support groups|
|Iowa isn't all flat, corn and soybeans|
|Family reunion at the 336.9 mile mark|
|Most team cross the finish line together|
|Bill presents RHI with $8,000 raised by Relay Iowa|
The Teams of Relay Iowa 2012