The inaugural Pasadena Marathon Relay was the idea of a select few who thought it would be great to run such an event along side a USAT&F road race. The organizers and volunteers worked very hard in the few weeks leading up to the race to ensure that the events went as smoothly as possible. As with any first year events, lessons were learned, but all the efforts paid off to run a successful event.
The race consisted of 5 legs: 10K, 5K, 10K, 5K, and 12K. The 2012 event was invitation only and consisted of 6 teams: 3 from A Runner’s Circle, 2 from our very own Gritty City and 1 team from the Pasadena Pacers.
My vantage point was that of a participating relay runner that Sunday morning. I was part of team “To LeGrit To Quit”, one of the 2 Gritty City teams. On my team were Miguel Villegas (10K), Pureza Bacor (5K), myself (Brian Reitz - 10K), Annie Fu (5K), and our very own President, John Burgos (12K). The race went off without any major hiccups and full, half and relay runners were on their way. Runners for legs 2-4 piled into the vans and we were off to our exchange points while the first runners took off down Hill Ave towards Old Town and the Colorado St. bridge.
I had the fortunate opportunity to watch the lead relay and marathon runners pass my exchange point at mile 9 before becoming one of the runners myself. They looked strong with effortless strides. About 15-20 runners passed before it was my turn to run, then I was off.
After completing my leg I jogged back to the starting line to meet up with other teammates and to see how we faired as a team and as a club. Our other Gritty City Team, “True Grit” placed 2nd in the relay division with a time of 2:42. This was no surprise considering this team had some fairly fast runners in Craig Pansing (10K), Eddie Villegas (5K), Dean Galez (10K), Jason Wang (10K) and Bert Whitson (12K). As for our team, well we came in 3rd, good enough for the podium! It’s amazing to see a lot of the same lead runners I saw at mile 9 now come through the finishing chute. A lot of them looked to be having an easier time after running 26.2 miles than I did after completing just a 10K. Even the lead female runner, Mandy Grantz, looked just as strong at the finish as she did when she first passed me at mile 9!
We are hoping that the experience gained through this years relay can help open the door to making this an annual, larger event in the future.
Stay Gritty and Happy Running!