Runners Complete 200-Mile Relay to Washington

(By Michael Temchine For The Washington Post)
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 26, 2009

They stayed awake for two days, nodding off for just minutes at a time as the van bumped along country roads.

Every few hours, they were awakened from their fitful sleep, were dropped on an unfamiliar road and ran as hard as they could for three, five or even eight miles, often in the darkness, with nothing but a headlamp for light.

Most people would call this torture.

But for a group of Iraq war veterans, the mayor of the District, an animal trainer from Walt Disney World and a stay-at-home mom home-schooling four children, this odd exercise was considered a great time.

The grueling event was a 200-mile relay race from Gettysburg, Pa., to Washington, the first of its kind in the nation's capital.

"Oh, it's so much fun," said Angie Humble, 39, the stay-at-home mom and team captain who also ran three legs of her race.

The runners began Friday, and late yesterday afternoon, most were still on the course.

Each team had two support vans, and most had 12 runners, who alternated the relay so each person ran three of the course's 36 legs.

"It's like a triathlon, but different," an exhausted Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said after he finished his team's final leg, running along the C&O Canal, then onto the Mall, where his team was second overall, finishing in 24 hours 16 minutes.

The 108 teams in the American Odyssey Relay included "Four Score and Seven Blisters Ago," "Running From Our Wives" and "Can I Get in the Van? No, Ya Stink!"

The vans were stocked with snacks, water, extra shoes, sleeping bags and lots and lots of maps.

"We urged each runner to print out the maps and run with them. But that's not always so easy," said Bob Fleshner, the race director.

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