Central Iowa has no shortage of races come race season. Each weekend is packed with local 5k’s, and even a few races of greater distance. The Market to Market Relay, to take place on May 11th, adds an entirely new dimension to the race season.
According to race director Ben Cohoon, the Market to Market Relay “started 6 years ago as a team running relay from Omaha to Lincoln. The Nebraska race grew from 150 teams the first year to 400 teams in year 5. As the race grew in popularity it went from a race that attracted teams throughout the region to a race that sold out in minutes, making it exclusively a Nebraska thing. We wanted to bring the fun of team running relay to Iowa.”
The Iowa version of Market to Market Relay begins in Jefferson and covers 75 miles over 17 stages to reach Des Moines, IA. The course will follow the Raccoon River Valley Trail System, paved streets, and gravel roads.
In order to participate, Cohoon says runners, “just need to have one person, the team captain sign up. Then the captain needs to recruit 5 or 6 more friends to make a complete team. The race is already 25% full with 5 months left until the race day, so we anticipate the event selling out.”
Past Market to Market participants say the team aspect of the race is highly appealing. Adeline Hohman states, “My teams have consisted of friends that I see frequently, acquaintances, and people I barely know. However, by the end of the day, everyone is best friends.”
Lindsey Meyer agreed, adding, “It is a great event and different from many other running events. You get to run a variety of distances and work as a team to reach the finish. This event appeals to many runners, especially those that don’t enjoy running longer distances.”
Cohoon says, “The day goes by in a whirl traveling in your team’s vehicle from one exchange to the next, sharing stories, laughing, running into old friends at the exchange point, and running 2 to 3 times in the day. The event is topped off with a huge block party on Market Street in downtown Des Moines in front of El Bait Shop featuring Coors Light, Music, Photo booths, and vendor.”
To register your team, visit the M2M Relay Iowa page at http://iowa.markettomarketrelay.com/. If you don’t have a team, or are short a runner, you can post your information on the Market to Market Facebook page or go to their “Find a Runner” message board at http://iowa.markettomarketrelay.com/registration/#find_runner.