I've never actually run a relay. I was asked if I wanted to join a Ragnar team last year, but was already committed to the 13.1 half - which was my first ever half marathon at the time. I've now run 9 halfs and numerous other races and am training for my first marathon. I think next year I will need a new challenge to tackle and there are some pretty interesting races within reasonable driving distance. I figured I'd post about some of them and see if anyone want to take the plunge next year.
Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay - Milwaulkee, WI - January 25th, 2014
I figured I would start chronologically. With this event you get to do laps around a 445 meter indoor track switching off between a team of 2-4 runners as many times as you like. I recently ran a half marathon at the same venue and its not as bad as one would think. You also really get to cheer your teammates on as you will see them every 1/4 mile. The event is held on a Saturday afternoon. For those who are masochist there is also a morning half marathon and a full solo marathon on Sunday.
Mad City Race for Ages 50K Relay - Madison, WI - April 19th, 2014
This relay features a 10K loop through the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and along the shores of Lake Wingra. Each team can have 2-5 runners with each runner completing at least one 10K loop. The prizes are awarded according to the combined age of everyone in the group. There is also a solo 100K race for the adventurous.
Dances With Dirt Gnaw Bone Extreme Relay - Nashville, IN - May 2014
Do you like to do your relays with some trails thrown in? This looks like your race. Up to 5 runners get to split 55 miles of legs with names like The Plunge, The Graveyard, and Devil's Daughter. Once again, for the adventurous there are 50M and 50K solo runs as well as marathon, half marathon, and 10K distances.
Grin and Bear It 50K - Lowell, MI - May 2014
This is a solo and relay 50K event. The website doesn't give many details other than the distance was shortened from 100K because the course was too tough.
24 Hours at Sunset Relay - Valparaiso, IN - June 2014
This is a relay of a different sort. You can enter as an individual, team of 2, or team of 10. The objective of this race is to complete as many 5K loops as you can as a team within the allotted 24 hour time period. The event also features a beer garden, fireworks, rally tents, and campsite.
Third Coast Relay - Holland, MI - June 2014
A 12 man relay team runs from Holland, Michigan following the lakefront 200+ miles all the way up to beautiful Traverse City. This relay is set up much like Ragnar, but without all the marketing. There are van decorating contests and everything.
Fred Meijer 200M Trail Relay - Comstock Park, MI - August 2014
This race is named after the former chairman of Meijer grocery stores and features 36 legs or "spurs" as they call them that range from 2 - 9 miles a piece on the trail and pavement. The event features its own lingo as teams are either Ultra Crews (6 runners) or Yard Crews (7-12 runners) and user train themed team names.
There are certainly plenty of alternative races out there for those who want a change of pace. As fun as those neighborhood 5Ks are and that big half marathon is - sometimes things to be shaken up and we need a bit of a challenge. Hopefully next year I'll get to participate in an event or two.