Great Lakes RelayJuly 17-19, 2015, in Michigan 1 of 8
The Great Lakes Relay takes runners to three of Michigan's great lakes and even lets participants dip their toes in the water. Running barefoot is encouraged during the beach portion of the relay, where the course touches the shores of lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan. The race isn't all sand though, as runners will traverse swamps, river crossings, remote trails, sandy ruts and hills. Also, expect some wildlife to join you during your leg. Who wouldn't want a moose as a running partner?
Top of Zion RelayJune 2016, in Utah 2 of 8
Racing through the mountains and forests of Utah, Top of Zion Relay is not recommended for newbie runners. The relay "features some of the most breathtaking, diverse, awe-inspiring scenery in the world–views [that] runners will literally have to work for." Beginning at Capital Reef National Park, the race winds through three national and three state parks, and two national monuments before crossing Dixie National forest. As the name suggests, runners climb a number of mountains and hills before finishing in Zion National Park at the Clear Creek Ranch. For those who aren't ready to commit to the full 195-mile distance, two shorter options of 100 and 95 miles are also available.
Ragnar Relay ColoradoAug. 7-8, 2015, in Colorado 3 of 8
The Ragnar Relay Series holds races in a number of United States cities, but the Colorado version offers some of the best mountain scenery in the country. Starting at Copper Mountain, the course traverses four of Colorado's most well-known ski resorts via bike paths, single-track trails and dirt roads. Beautiful scenery isn't in short supply, but your breath may be. Course elevation reaches 10,500 feet, so elevation training is necessary for this race. Craft beer and a post-race party awaits you at Snowmass Resort, but only after 195 miles of taking in the views and mountain air.
Golden Gate RelayApril 30 - May 1, 2016, in Northern California 4 of 8
For those in need of some West Coast views, the Golden Gate Relay spans 191 miles of picturesque Northern California. Starting in Napa Valley, the course travels through 36 cities, including a jaunt across the Golden Gate Bridge in the middle of the night. Runners cross the finish line in Santa Cruz and can enjoy a victory party on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Relay is committed to giving back to the community, raising funds for Organs R Us and the 125,000 Americans waiting for organ donors.
Hood to Coast RelayAug. 28-29, 2015, in Oregon 5 of 8
Located in the northwestern tip of Oregon, the Hood to Coast Relay is 197 miles of pure Oregonian beauty. Touting itself as the "Mother of All Relays," this race attracts nearly 12,600 runners and 3,600 volunteers. The course begins on the top of Mount Hood and leads runners up and down the mountains of Mount Hood National and Tillamook State Forests. After changing runners 36 times, with each leg ranging in distance of 3.4 to 7.7 miles, a large beach party awaits at the race's end in Seaside.
New Balance Reach the Beach RelaySept. 18-19, 2015, in New Hampshire 6 of 8
Two multisport athletes created the East Coast-based Reach the Beach Relay in 1999 to bring an overnight relay race to New Hampshire. This 198-mile relay stretches from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach, providing stunning views of New England along the way. Reach the Beach provides opportunities for all levels of runners with a total distance option for age-groupers (16.6 miles per runner) and ultra runners (33 miles per runner). This race also features a steady decline in altitude from start to finish, allowing runners to complete the hardest legs in the beginning.
Ragnar Trail Relay AtlantaApril 2016, in Georgia 7 of 8
Looking to take your relay race off the roads? Located deep in the Georgia woods, the Ragnar Trail Relay Atlanta takes runners on dirt tracks through dense forests, rivers, creeks and hills. Teams set up camp at Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, where those resting can enjoy live music, s'mores, food and a bonfire.
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