Are you game for this relay?

Over the past few weeks, I've asked several of my good running friends a question:

Do you think you can run 11 miles, three times in one day?

That makes it sound a lot easier than asking them to run 33 miles.

They usually take a few seconds to process what I've just asked them.

Then they say, "Yeah, I can do that."

It's all part of my plan to assemble a six-person team to compete in the 202.7-mile Cape Relay on May 1 and 2. The course for the inaugural event begins in Quincy, Mass. and finishes in Provincetown.

The race has 36 legs and you have your choice of competing with a 12-person team which averages out to about 17 miles per person or with an ultra team of 6 which doubles each runner's mileage to almost 34. So far 250 teams have signed up.

While finding enough people in a short period of time could be difficult, organizers let you sign up and then add people to your team as race day approaches. And if you can't find enough teammates, organizers are keeping a list of runners who want to join a team.

But before you sign up, it's a smart thing to go to www.13relay.com. and read the online race book which has maps of every leg and detailed information on the logistics of the relay.

That's because this race is as much about the planning and how you execute it as it is about how fast you can run. You have to figure out the order of the relay, when you eat and sleep, what gear to bring, how you'll get to the checkpoints and who will be driving.

I think it's easier and cheaper with six. For starters you don't have to have vans and can use two cars as long as you don't mind being uncomfortable. And it's easier to organize six people instead of a dozen. We can put three people in each car. While the first car runs six legs at a time, the second car goes up the road to sleep, eat and relax.

When one runner in a car is out on the course for his two legs, the other two are driving to the next exchange. I figure each team will have about five hours on and five off. Flexibility and ability to adapt to problems will also play a big part in this event. With the ultra division if someone can't do a leg, another runner will have to step in and run some extra miles.

Everyone is also going to have to run in the dark which should be fun and some will get to run along the Cape Cod Canal, over the Sagamore Bridge and along Ocean View Drive in Eastham. A long section of the course covers the scenic 30-plus miles of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

By the end, not only will everyone need sleep and food but a long shower. The cars may also need some deodorizer.

This event will not just test your endurance but the strength of your friendships. So far I have four people who have agreed to do the race with me. That means I need one more.

Wish me luck with my question.

Closer to home

Relays seem to be popping up all over the country as runners look for something different to do with a group of friends. Just three weeks after the Cape Cod event, the 2nd annual Ragnar Relay will stretch from Yale University in New Haven to Harvard University in Boston. This relay is for teams of 12 runners and more information is available at www.ragnarrelayne.com. Part of the course winds through Colchester, Bozrah, Franklin and Baltic.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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