I was always told run relays were fun to do, especially the Ragnar and Tuna. I was given the opportunity so I jumped at the chance. The tuna 200 takes you from Raleigh, NC to Atlantic Beach. So a team of 12 runners were put together, some I knew but most I didn’t, to form a team. There would be a team A and Team B. Each group of 6 would have a van that transported the teams throughout the race. We broke it up so that team A would do the first 6 legs, then team B the next 6 and so on. I was in team B so we wouldn’t get started until around 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, while team A started us off at 6:20am. Although we weren’t running, most of team B were there at the start to send off team A.
After the send off Team B had some hours to kill so we each went home to prepare to meet up later and drive to the exchange point. I took the time I had to go early vote (voting is extremely important), after that I just finished packing and did some carb loading. We arranged to meet at a guy’s house around 12:30, because it would about an hour drive to our checkpoint location. That was my first chance to meet all of team B We were made up of all first time Tuna runners; we had a husband& wife, a cyclist, a distance runner and a guy that was totally new to running. We packed up and were off. After having to turn around once because we had to meet team A to get the handoff bracket, we arrived at our location around 2:20. That gave me 30 minutes to prep before my run. I was first up at 2:50. There were lots of teams out and they had staggered starts so I started out with about 20 other runners. I didn’t know anything about the road we were on so I decided to be cautious on my pace. I settled in after about 3 miles and began to pick it up and catch other runners. It was low 80s so it was hot and humid. I finished up my first leg of 6.61 miles with 6 “kills”(runners passed). I handed off to my teammate, now I had time to rest as we traveled to next checkpoint. My next run was scheduled at 9:57pm.
By the time we got to our third leg, it started to downpour. Our teammate had to run her whole 7 miles in rain, but she did great. As the day turned to night we kept adding on the miles, while keep team A informed as to how we were doing. That were to meet up with us at 10:30pm to switch off. By the time it came around for my second leg, it was pitch black out and all runners were required to wear headlamps and blinkers. It was pretty chilly out but I chose to stick with shorts and short sleeves because I knew I would warm up. I also carried mace since we heard there had been instances of stray dogs. Running through the back roads of NC was definitely an experience, especially at night. I finished up my leg with 9 more “kills”. We had one more leg before it was off to hotel hour away to get much needed showers and a little sleep. We finished our last leg for night and met up with team A They would be running through the wee hours of the morning, while we would be sleeping. By the time we reached hotel in Jacksonville NC, it was after 12am and I was starving. We hit up Denny’s before settling in for the night.
Alarms went off at 7 am and we checked in with team A. We were to meet them at 8:30am, but not before getting some free hotel breakfast. We drove out to meet them, we would be finishing up the race while they would be heading back to hotel to shower before meeting is at the finish line. My last leg, I think was the best, it took me over there bridge to Emerald Isle beach. After my 5 miles, I was officially done with my runs.
Now time to celebrate. Team A meet us and we all waited to see our last runner. We finally saw him and we ran behind him across the finish line as 1 team. We got our medals and headed to the free beer, Tuna and BBQ.
This was a great experience and I would definitely do it again. I met plenty of new friends. Special Thanks to all the churches that opened their doors for us to use restrooms and even cooked is food.