I’ve always said that relays are the ultimate way to run as a team. I have been blessed over the years to find many wonderful runners (and plain wonderful individuals) to call my teammates, but out of the 7 relays I’ve participated in, this year’s team Banana Kills will likely hold a special place in my heart.
Just for fun, our twelve person relay team went out and got 4th place out of 35 teams. No specialized training, all different ability levels, mixed in gender, and while mostly young, in different stages of life (married, children, in grad school, etc.) No other race allows all of us to come together in this way, as a successful team, running on beautiful roads and trails through the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.
Instead of my normal race recap, I just wanted to give a shout out to team Banana Kills for their positive energy, incredible support for one another, and to one specific teammate I just have to say I am in awe of your bravery.
Laughter was the sound you most likely heard from our teams’ vans, encouragement a close second, (and possibly cowbells from Van 2 a close third.) As a team we were able to push each other in the best of ways because we actually pushed ourselves from within. We pushed ourselves so that we could better contribute to the team. I was able to run my last leg as my fastest leg (in pace per mile) because I wanted to dig deep for my team. I’m beyond proud of this team and while I doubt the exact same group of 12 will get to run another relay together, I am happy to have had the opportunity this year.
As far as the race goes, leg 8 might be my new favorite (a close second to the swinging bridge leg,) and the picture below might help convey just how much I like running on trails. Even in a thunderstorm and being under-trained on technical trails, I had a blast on this section of the Mountains to Sea trail.
I’m looking forward to next year already- only 360-ish days till SMR 2018!
Past relay recaps:
SMR 2014 Part 1
SMR 2014 Part 2