Garden Spot Village Marathon Relay

On Saturday by 7AM, hundreds of cars were rolling into New Holland, PA. The line into Garden Spot Village was slow, but organized and we were soon parked. The staff and volunteers at the race were wonderful – hats off to the race director Scott Miller and his team!

For the start, it was about 40 and breezy – about 20 degrees colder than I’d prefer, but with sweatshirts and jackets it was manageable. We meet up with the other “Running … Because I Can” runners – we had 2 teams of four. 
(missing two runners)

Notice all the jackets on the ground – taken off for the picture to show off our great shirts. Shirts were compliments of Allegheny Valley Yogurt – the BEST yogurt in the country made half a mile from my house from cows I see grazing every day and they truly are happy cows 🙂 

And our smiles – you don’t really want to know the jokes and/or conversations those are from. 
A relay involves a baton, so we practiced the hand-off – after all, we would be running at top-notch speeds 😉 In reality, most team members stopped and hugged at the transfers. And most of us hate running with something in our hand, so the batons spent most of the morning in the car and were handed to the last runners right before the finish. 
There was a lot of energy in the air as about 900 people started the race at 8AM, while about 150 relay runners took the provided shuttle buses to the relay transfer spots for their sections of the race. 
I was scheduled for the 4th leg, which meant I waited until 11:45 to run. (I didn’t complain about this at all, not once …) We drove to each of the transfer spots to cheer on team members and watch the runners through beautiful Lancaster County.
Thankfully temps warmed up to about 60, but it stayed windy all day. Finally, a friend who was a bike marshal for the race told me that the runner that will hand off to me was only 10 minutes away. It was time to get this body ready – walk, potty break, stretch … repeat 6 times and off I went!
I had started with a slight cold/sore throat/runny nose on Friday, so I loaded my pockets with tissues and lozenges. Other than an annoying sore throat, I felt great! I stuck with my plan to run 8 minutes and walk 2 minutes and was happy with the strength in my legs – yes, even the peg. 
Happy to see friends near the finish line.
A teammate joined me to cross the finish line. My hands are in the air – thrilled to be finished and happy with the time. I ran 6 miles in 1 hour, 11 minutes.
Duct tape comes in handy, when an idea hits a few days before a race. I think for the next race, I’ll get a shirt or shorts printed with my info on. 

Tired, but happy with medal in hand.

Today, I’m still recovering from my cold, but praising God for bodies that heal and thinking of the next race. 
You want to join me? 

First and last photo – Jerry Oberholtzer, All others – Linda Wingard

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