Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Palmetto 200 Event Report - Part 1

I would call this a race report - but we do this for fun instead of for competition.
So - this is a report from Van #2's perspective on April 30, 2010 as we drove to the start of the Palmetto 200 relay adventure in Cayce, SC and ran to Folly Beach, SC. We had a relatively normal leaving time of ~6:45am to make it to the Historic Columbia Speedway.

Typed the street into the Garmin and had a nice drive down after packing our bags and enough food for a small army. Stopped for coffee on the way, made some turns as directed and lo and behold - we end up lost - even though we see Caution Runner signs. We figure out we are close - which is good because we are cutting it close to meet up with Van #1 to get a team photo before the 9:00am start time. What made it worse was

a train stopped on the tracks. We found a way around it and made it in time.

Christina was the first leg with a loop around the speedway before heading off on the rest of her route.

We got in the van and headed to our first major exchange area. The Garmin got used again and guess what? We got lost again. Turns out there are multiple Old Belleview Roads - good thing we had time to spare. We stopped using the Garmin after that. Even with going out of our way - we got to the outskirts of St. Matthews and had Hours to kill.

We were much smarter this relay - we had tailgating chairs so we were off our feet. We used suntan lotion so we wouldn't get burned (Chris's hands got the worst of it), but a canopy would have been even better. We kept track of Van #1 on our handy spreadsheet showing the estimated (and actual) start and finish times for each leg. This was So Helpful! If anyone wants a copy - let me know - it can be used for any relay. (I actually like our better than the one from the Running Relays website. Van # 1 arrived around 2pm and I got ready for my measly 1.7 mile run - the shortest of the whole relay. Started off with a downhill, then a longer uphill before turning and completely flattening out. Jeff arrived and I took off just ahead of another team's runner. She was tall with long legs and guessed she might pass me on the way down - and I was right. I was also correct that I would catch her on the uphill. We ran the whole leg within 10 yards of each other. I knew she was pushing me to run faster, but the leg was so short it couldn't make that much difference!

I made it the next exchange in ~12 minutes (thankfully not beating our van!) and passed off to Charles for Leg #8 - 4.0 easy miles out of St. Matthews.

My run was warm, but it was going to get much worse for our van this day (and the next day too).
Charles handed off to Chris near someones personal airstrip out in the boonies. We noticed that many of these legs were relatively flat, and also had very little shade. Chris's leg #9 was 4.6 easy miles, but it was starting to get toasty out there. We drove ahead and had already started checking on our runners as we passed to check their water situation. Not only our runners - but others as well and I must say we were amazed by many things - but the generosity of all of the teams looking out for each other outshone everything in this race. Strangers offering water or anything else that was needed made the relay possible for many to finish. One runner about this time actually collapsed and was rushed to the hospital (Horrors of the BRR came back to mind, but this had a happy ending as we later found out he was fine, released from the hospital and made it to the finish, and his teammates skipped their middle legs and finished the relay).
Chris at the start of his run:

Anyway - Chris got beat down by the heat

but made it in to Cameron (where gnats made it rather difficult to do anything) to hand off to Dave for Leg #10, 9.8 hard miles.
We shadowed him every few miles and he looked strong early on.
About the 5 or 6 mile mark, we saw him turn a corner and start smiling. He always smiles,

but we later found out he was smiling because he needed water and he was Hoping that we had stopped for him. We went ahead to the next exchange and passed a bridge over some water/swamp land and a small cemetery just before the handoff location. I walked back to check it out and saw some headstones from the early 1800's. Not a bad place to be buried overlooking the water.

Dave came around the corner, I gave him a fresh bottle of water for the last stretch (it was 5:30pm at this point) and Alex went out towards Elloree for his 3.5 mile, flat Leg #11.

We waited around Elloree for a bit before Kerrie started the last of our 1st legs. It was a nice little town but obviously affected by a continuing slow economy as there were numerous empty buildings downtown. Kerrie had a good route out of town and ending her 7.3 miles going into Santee State Park.

We met up for the 2nd time with Van #1 at the park, and let me say the park was the Best exchange zone we have seen. Even better than the oulets at the Blue Ridge Relay. Lots of trees (=shade), a beautiful Lake, places for tents, some used the showers that were available, one smart person brought a hammock - such luxury!
So it is 7pm, we are 1/3 the way thru - having covered roughly 68 miles in 10 hours. No sleep as of yet - but we would try soon. There was a stop for Subway at 11am and we'd soon stop at another one. We headed to our next major exchange at a church near Eutawville.
To Be Continued...very soon!

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