Looking for a new adventure? Registration for the Palmetto 200 just opened up! I think everyone should do it at least once, if you dare... here is my (Meri) recount:
With a couple of 24 hour races under my belt (EPIC and Hinson), I decided to join in on the relay race fun. Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Palmetto 200 with a couple of running friends.
The Palmetto200 is a unique, overnight relay adventure in which you and 11 friends cover 200 scenic miles from the Coble Plaza in Columbia to Patriots Point (just outside of historic Charleston). The Palmetto200 will treat runners to the Three Rivers Greenway, Santee State Park, Lonestar BBQ, farm communities, lakes, Fort Moultrie, the Ravenel Bridge, historic Charleston and the coastal waters.
You can actually have anywhere from 4 (ultra team) up to teams of 12 people. They can be co-ed or not. We had a team of 9 women of varying abilities from CrossFit junkies up to 100 milers. We decided to divide the 36 legs into 5s - van 1 chose to rotate having one gal run two legs each time. I was in van 2 with four other Charlotte-area mother runners.
Van 1 began the race at 6:30am in Columbia, South Carolina while we went ahead to exchange 6 in Oak Grove, South Carolina. Many of the exchanges took place at small, local churches along the route. They were open no matter what time you came through; we were able to use the facilities and hang out in the parking lot. I think all of the staff at each location was there volunteering their time and energy. We were truly given a giant dose of Southern Hospitality - showing us the bathrooms, offering us coffee or waters, and a couple stations had munchies! When our van was "off," we would drive ahead to our next exchange and sleep. It wasn't uncommon to see sleeping bags spread out in the grass around the vans.
I personally ran 3 legs, with a total of approximately 13 miles. Two were daytime runs - one Friday and one Saturday. My second leg was in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty scary (I'm a giant chicken) and I could hear dogs barking. At one point a puppy was running along side of me. It was nice to have some company. Sadly I couldn't keep him, and left him with a Sheriff. Other runners were in front and behind me (yes, passing me).
You read correctly - Sheriff. One of the perks of the race is the HEAVY police presence. Other than a couple of no good, very bad drivers, we were always being watched over by police officers.I never felt unsafe (realistically).
The race concluded, 206 miles later, at Patriot's Point in Charleston, South Carolina. Where a buffet (tacos!) and beer awaited us. My team finished in 32 hours and 44 minutes, placing 79/100. BUT we were the second place All-Female team (they beat us by 3 hours). At which point, we showered, dined on local cuisine, and passed OUT!
Final score: 5/5! It's a must do race, so grab 11 of your closest friends and draw straws on the long legs!