If you enjoy the outdoors, a flat trail, and relays with great food and beer at the end then this race is for you! Relay races are beginning to pop up throughout Missouri and this was the inaugural running of the Katy 80 Mile Relay, which began near St. Charles, MO and ended in August, MO which is located in the Missouri Rhineland (Highway 94 literally has a vineyard every couple miles). The course is run on the Katy Trail, which is an old railroad line, so it is flat. The roads your team will take inbetween exchanges is NOT flat, but the trail itself is.
Since it was the inaugural year, there were only 22 teams of six runners, but I have no doubt this race will grow in the future. There is a division for everyone: Male, Female, Coed Open, Ultra, First Responders, and Coed Masters. Two vehicles per team are allowed on the course, but we were able to fit into one SUV, which made traveling a lot easier.
A few tips for this relay, and the others using the Katy Trail:
-Bring plenty of beverages and snacks. You never know what the weather will be on any given day in the Midwest and you are running and then in a vehicle all day, going through tiny towns that have no restaurants.
-Gas stations along the course are sparse so fill up before the start.
-Bring a vehicle that you don't mind getting dirty and dusty. Also bring blankets to cover the upholstery on the inside of the vehicle.
-There is water at the exchanges, but you will want Gatorade, maybe even freeze it in advance like my teammate did.
-Pack plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.
-Bring hand sanitizer and wipes for your face.
-There are restrooms at the exchanges but bring extra toilet paper just in case they run out.
If you are interested in running a relay but don't have a full team, be sure to check the race website leading up to race day because teams will often be looking for a single runner to complete their team. On our team, one of the runners got injured so we had to replace her last minute, so always have a back-up plan.
I highly recommend relays because they are not only fun, but it gives you a chance to work as part of a team. The exchanges were fun because you got to cheer on a teammate finishing a leg of the race and then cheer on your next runner. The day flew by and before we knew it, we had our pint glass, beer coupon, and food coupon in hand.
For more pictures along the course, go to: http://willrunforamedal.blogspot.com/2014/06/katy-80-mile-relay-race-recap.html