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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the new england relay—running 220 miles in six states in 24 hours

The New England Relay—Running 220 Miles in Six States in 24 Hours
Yes! This will be the first running of the highly anticipated New England Relay, June 11-12, 2011 from West Glocester in northwest Rhode Island to Kittery, Maine near the Portsmouth Harbor —your team, 12 runners, 220+ miles, dozens of towns, 36 legs, about 24 to 30 hours. It will be an adventure running in all six New England states. Unprecedented! Let’s Go!

The New England Relay—Running 220 Miles in Six States in 24 Hours

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Tuesday, 12 April, 2011

There are many wonderful sights and enticing points of interest along this scenic overnight trek across New England. It’s a 36-leg journey through dozens of towns, along captivating scenery, and quintessential New England forests, villages, farms and waterways. Runners will experience mountains, river valleys, (bridges—perhaps a covered bridge or two), a variety of towns and small cities, the seashore, sunset, sunrise and a wonderfully fulfilling sense of camaraderie and accomplishment. This is the longest overnight relay in the USA, and you and your team should not miss the inaugural.

The New England Relay is the first to include all six New England States, starting in Rhode Island and touching Connecticut before heading northwest into Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley. The Connecticut is New England’s largest river and borders or flows through four states. The relay will cross Massachusetts south to north heading into Vermont in the Brattleboro area before turning east to cross the width of New Hampshire heading to the sea. Upon reaching the Atlantic beaches the course heads northeast along the coast into Portsmouth and across the Piscataqua River into Kittery, Maine for the finish and the end-of-event celebration. Yes, there will be quite a party because this, my friends, has never been done before.

Please note--very important: there are now only a few spots available! Registration for 12-person teams is $1250 and $650 for ultras. Until the end of April--or until filled--they are offering $100 off your 12-person registration. Use code: AprPromo when you register to receive the discount.

No other current overnight relay is this long, over 220 miles, and no other hits so many states; in fact, those touching even two states are rare. Along the way, this event showcases all that is good about New England—which is especially beautiful in late spring. It is one week before summer solstice, so days are near their longest. And there are such varied views and landscapes from idyllic rural fields and pastures to long stretches of beautiful forest. There are small villages and college towns, interesting cities and beautiful parks. There are mountain vistas, working farms, ponds, lakes and busy harbors. Participants will want to bring a camera to capture the essence of New England.

There are excellent instructions on the Website as to how to get to the start and information on where to stay, where to rent vans, etc. so we won’t revisit that here. Let’s just say the start is 45 minutes from Providence, an hour from Boston and 1.5 hours form both Manchester, NH and Hartford, CT. Manchester is probably the best bet for round trip air since it is 1.5 from the start and one hour from the finish. Boston Logan International would be a good alternative.

Both the start and finish are reasonably close to Interstate 95.

Logistics Can be Fun too
Your course will be quintessential New England. The race handbook has terrific descriptions of each leg, with length of each, cumulative distance, turns, handoffs, elevation profile, and maps— very impressive and easy to follow.

There are several transition areas that will accommodate tents and sleeping bags, although some may wish to sleep in the vans. Overnight accommodations, if desired, are available at Brattleboro, VT and Keene, NH (both near half way), or there are many options near Manchester, an hour west of the finish by auto, though most would reach this point (3/4 through) in the very early morning hours—however, if you plan well you could drive ahead and sleep there and wait for your team to come through the area.

That is part of the fun in such an endeavor—planning logistics, transfers and handoffs, which is itself part of the competition.

Teams will likely enjoy very comfortable running weather, a spectacular sunset, and phenomenal sunrise. Somehow out on the road these experiences are enhanced by the effort and by the camaraderie. The average high temperature central to the course is 77 on June 11, with an average low of 53, and a mean of 65. The sun will set at 8:24 p.m. and rise at 5:08 a.m.

Who Will Run, and How?
The 220-mile New England Relay is modeled after other overnight long distance relays, except it is longer than all others. The course is divided into 36 legs with designated exchange zones at the end of each leg. There are two main categories for teams to choose from: regular 12-person teams (7 to 12 persons) or ultra teams consisting of 6-runners who run either a 6x1 or 6x6 configuration. Most teams will be simply running friends looking for a different and exciting adventure. Corporate and Club teams are also encouraged to participate.

Planning and organizing for a 12-person team to run about 220 miles at the best possible pace is a great company team builder. Meeting this challenge is about as much fun as you can have in team running. Running clubs and companies can compete with others, or contest their own internal bragging rights. Many companies pay tens of thousands of dollars for such team building—and other methods are likely much less effective.

This relay is designed for runners of all abilities. Whether you are an ultra-marathoner or a beginner, there is a spot for you in the New England Relay. There are six classifications, including women’s, men’s and mixed regular teams, and women’s, men’s, and mixed ultra teams. And there are divisions within those classifications: Open, Masters (40 and over), Senior Masters (50 and over). Anyone can participate.

Distance and Difficulty
The 36 legs in the New England Relay average 6.2 miles. The shortest is 3.0 (two of those), and the longest is 11. The minimum total distance for three legs is 14.3 miles. The maximum total is 26.2 for one runner. All others will be in between, depending on selection. Some legs are classified as easy, based on distance and elevation change; most are rated moderate; and a few are classified as hard.

Two team support vans—six runners each--will carry runners from exchange to exchange and will trade off every six legs at the van transfer areas.

Headlamps or flashlights and reflective vests will be worn during darkness, and runners may have “pacers” run with them during the nighttime legs. Vans will be able to “shadow” runners and keep them in sight for safety and directions.

There will be music and party atmosphere at several of the van exchanges (some will not sleep at all), and the 220-mile party will be in full swing throughout as runners speed on through the day and night, logging the tough legs and the easy ones too.

It sounds intimidating, but taking on one leg at a time you can enjoy supporting your teammates and get geared up for your legs—only three runs and an average of 18.5 miles for each person. NO problem!

The more competitive types may want to take the “Marathon” positions. That is, there are two positions that run a total of 26.2 miles in three legs. There will be prizes for the fastest cumulative time for all three or the total of 26.2.

Proceeds from the New England Relay will benefit the American Liver Foundation and support their vital work. Visit for information. Another New England Event, the Chilly Half Marathon, Newton, MA on November 14 also benefits ALF:

It is new! It is different! It is well organized and well planned. The initial planning run went like clockwork, and race management has really thought about every detail to make teams and individual runners safe and happy. Join this inaugural running on June 11 and 12 and enjoy a unique experience with 11 close friends and teammates—such camaraderie and enjoyment is totally different from other running events. Then you can tell all other friends and family and impress them with what you and your team accomplished. Get a team together and plan to be a part of the first ever New England Relay!



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