Trying to summarize 4 jam packed days of American Odyssey Relay 2013 into a single entry doesn’t happen overnight especially when there are a ton of notable events so I’m going to break this down into a few parts. I’m sure I’ll forget some of the details so if you read this and want to add anything, do it in the comments section. A quick overview for those who are reading this and have never heard of AOR or a 200 mile relay. You assemble a team of 12 people and each take a set of “legs” that range from 3-9 miles. When your leg is up, you run it and hand off to the next person. When the 36 legs are finished, you’ll have traveled from Gettysburg to Washington DC in extraordinary fashion. This humorous video does a good job of explaining. After all the people read this post and see how great the trip was, I have a feeling Nathan will be moving from 2 teams to 3 teams next year. I’m going to write this post as a trip report from the moment it started to when it ended remembering any and everything I can.
I met up with Nathan, Jeff, and Jose at the Enterprise in Plymouth Meeting at 1:30pm on Thursday to pick up our new homes for the weekend. We drove to Nathan’s office and awaited for the teams to arrive. After getting settled, we drove 2 vans up to Shady Maple Smorgasbord in Lancaster for a buffet of immense magnitude. We arrived just as the early dinner crowd (+65) was finishing and for a mere 18 bucks, had enough food to last for days. This place had rows and rows of dishes and was a perfect choice for our type of crowd. The fruit punch was delicious and earned me the nickname “Kool-Aid”. We left Lancaster at 6:30 and drove the 1 and half hours to Gettysburg to arrive where the race was to begin. After checking into our hotel rooms we grabbed a few beers and socialized with the members of our team to get to know each other a little better. At 11pm we turned it in because our send off times were around 8 and 9 the next morning and this is the last real rest you get until the race is completed.
The next morning we packed up the vans, did some van decorating and cheered off our runners as the race got started. I took the Browns to the Super Bowl in the Wyndham restroom which was luxurious compared to what I knew the rest of the trip’s accommodations were like. Once both teams had started, we had planned a Segway tour around Gettysburg which had its stories. At the indoor Segway practice course you had to prove you could handle a Segway which was challenging for some (Ck4) but without much delay, we took to the streets. I found the Segway to be new at first but after a few minutes riding it, you get the hang. This idea was better than what we did last year which was wandering around Gettsyburg with no particular purpose. After an hour on the Segway and touring the area, we hopped off to meet our runners at the next transition point. My legs felt like a lead balloon after the Segway which had me a bit concerned but didn’t prove to be a problem. Driving up Leg 6 had Chad starting to understand what type of hills we were in store for.
We arrived a bit early at the transition point which gave David (more on him later) plenty of time to warm up. When we saw Fran cruising up the hardest leg with ease, she handed off the bracelet to David and our set of legs had begun. This was David’s first time doing this event and he got a nice taste of the what type of terrain was in store for us. Without much issue though, a winded David handed off to Chad who had a nice little 1.5 incline that he was up all night worrying about. We assured him we would be his van support at the top of the hill to give him water. As it turned out, we didn’t follow him along the path and had no chance to give him water which was a bit of concern for some (Nikkii) but not much for the rest of us. We drove the next transition point and waited (and hoped) that Chad would be alright because he isn’t exactly a veteran runner. The jokes at this point of whether we would ever see Chad again were flowing. To quote Chad before he did his run, “I’ll either be there or I won’t.” Part 2 to come shortly.