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Reasons Why Runners Should Join A Marathon Relay Team

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Marathon relays are great for those who want to race but don't want to go very long distance. Reasons Why Runners Should Join A Marathon Relay Team www.runnerclick.com

After watching and following news on major marathons like Boston and London it’s hard not to feel inspired. And for many runners, a marathon is on their bucket list of races to complete. It’s often the natural progression after completing a few half marathons. It’s also sought after for even those who are new to running. But both seasoned and new runners are easily intimidated by the distance. However, it doesn’t have to be. This is why runners should think about joining a marathon relay team.

Marathon relay teams are becoming more and more popular. Many larger scale races like the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon introduced this race option to its event this year. Relays are the best way to still be able to participate in the race without having to run the entire 26.2 miles. It is great for those who aren’t ready just yet for the distance, or those who are in the midst of training for a longer distance race. It is also ideal for those who want to run with their running buddies or make new friends in their local running scene.

Image by andreas N from Pixabay .

What Exactly Is A Marathon Relay

A relay race, in general, is a competition where a select number of competitors take turns completing sections of the course. When it comes to running, think about the relay races where runners pass batons around the track in track and field meets and t the Olympics Games.

Marathon relays typically are split up to four legs where a runner from each team completed one (sometimes more) leg of the distance. For example, a team of four runners would decide who is running 8.6 miles, the next 6.4 miles, 7.1 miles, and 4.1 miles. Race distances vary based on the event.

Runners all meet at the starting line venue or location. The first runner takes off holding some form of a baton, where it is a chipped bracelet or handheld baton that tracks the time. The other three runners are transported usually by bus to the transition locations. There they wait for their team member to come along to pass the baton and they run their leg.

The runners are then all taken to the finish line where they meet up and collect their medals.

Here Are The Top Reasons Why All Runners Should Join A Marathon Relay

Photo: Lauren Keating

All Distance Runners Are Welcomed

Physically and mentally, marathons are tough. And since many people want to get there someday, a  marathon relay is a great way to be involved in the marathon. And there is distance offered for just about every kind of runner. Newcomers or those who typically run 5ks can pick up the shorter distance. Those training for their first half marathon might want to the second longest. More experienced runners probably want to take on the longer miles. This means all distance runners are welcomed.

No 20-Mile Training Runs Required

Ask a marathoner and they probably say the hardest part of training is that 20-mile run. A marathon relay is broken up so that the longest leg isn’t even that long when compared to an 18 plus mile training run. This makes it much more manageable for those who aren’t ready to take on that amount of mileage.

Less Training (And Time To Train) Is Needed

While it’s smart to train for a big race no matter the distance, runners don’t need to feel overwhelmed. The distance they run probably isn’t even a half marathon so the training is less extensive for sure. This means not so many long runs. It also means less of a commitment for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to half marathon training schedules. This makes it perfect for busy runners who still love to race, but aren’t looking for major training commitments.

Image by Th G from Pixabay

A Marathon Relay Is Perfect For Half Marathoners

A marathon relay is especially perfect for half marathon runners. Say a runner just completed a half marathon and have another one coming up within a month or two. It’s just not ideal to run a full marathon when it comes to preventing injury for the average runner. If the event has a half marathon option, they might not want to add another one so close together. The relay allows them to still run the race without needing to push their bodies to complete longer mileage.

It’s A Fun Way To Experience A Race

A marathon relay is a different way to experience a race. Instead of running solo, the runner has a team. Okay, technically they are running solo each leg but they know they have a team for support and who is relying on them to complete their leg. It’s just fun and a unique experience compared to just running the event for themselves. This makes it perfect to run with friends or those part of their running group.

It’s A Way To (Sort Of) Become A Marathoner

It’s definitely not the same as running 26.2 miles. So runners shouldn’t start bragging that they are a marathoner now. But they can say they are a marathon relay finisher, which is awesome too. The relay allows those to experience a marathon in a smaller sense. It’s so inspirational to run alongside these runners. It’s also great for those who aren’t ready for signing up for a full marathon but want a small taste of what they can expect the following year.


  1. Wikipedia, Relay Race, Informational Website
  2. JEFF GALLOWAY, Not Ready for 26.2? Run a Relay, Running Website
  3. New Jersey Marathon, NOVO NORDISK NEW JERSEY MARATHON & HALF MARATHON Marathon Relay, Race Website

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