Imagine a group of slightly wild and a little off kilter... physically fit & athletically attractive in every body build possible...running 200 miles in 24 hours...imagine 2 vans for each team...pit stops to cheer on your runner...camp sites for when your van is off...lots of cheering props & possibly the occasional other beverage of choice...oh, and no sleep other than pulling your sleeping bag up to a tree for a nap.
This is Woodstock for athletes in a running format. And without all the
illegal drugs & actual sex. Thank god, the 1st & possibly last time I
participated on a Reach the Beach team I was an overtired, 37 year old married
mother of 3 on a kick-ass fast team of other women trying to compete for a 1st
place team for our local running specialty store. I remember thinking, wow, kind
of like being in a candy store for the physically fit. You can't help but gawk
behind your Natives at the physiques out there.
My first encounter with another van was when we, a group of 6 attractive
& obnoxiously fit women, pulled into a pit stop to wait for our runner...it
was like a frat party...10 other testosterone-driven manly men throwing a
football around waiting for their runners to come by. "Coming in hot"...was
their response to our van as we pulled up.
Maybe a little cheesy and inappropriate, but for some reason, it was kind of
funny...kind of complimentary and appropriate for the event. Running races seem
to be so quiet and serious, conservative....and solo. You're out there pushing
yourself with some spectators here and there, maybe clapping, maybe some
cheering...but for the most part, it's you racing the course. Here, everyone's
pulling for each other to make it through the absurdity of the event, all the
while, checking each other out appreciatively.
This event turns running into a team sport. The comraderie amongst not only
your van-mates & team but with the other 500 teams out there...it's unlike
anything else you will ever experience. It's a perfect mix of challenge, wild
fun, & pure joy. Between the cheering & random conversations, to the
passing around of Nuun tablets & extra water...it's really unlike anything
If this race had been around when I was in my 20's, it would have been kind
of like a spring break but healthier on so many levels. Instead of waiting in
line to do shots from a box, you're waiting in line for a crappy cup of coffee
at 2am at a transition area. Cheering your friend on in a bikini contest versus
cheering your friend on during her 9 mile descend in Franconia Notch...Going out
for greasy pancakes at noon the next day to rehash all the nights
events....going out for any meal at a place that has working plumbing to rehash
the past 24 hours & wait out the results.
Like spring break, I never thought I would live through it & survive to
tell all the hilarious encounters, close calls & crazy stories from those 24
hours. But unlike spring break, I would do it all over again...just to relive
that feeling that this event embraces unlike any other...so if you are looking
for that challenge...because make no mistake, this race is not for the weak, but
you also want a wild adventure, this is the one to do....
- What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe