As a journalist, I’ve grown quite accustomed to going to bed at 3 a.m. But getting up at 1:45 a.m. and herding New Balance Reach the Beach relay runners until 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning is quite another thing. But I must say, it was worth it as part of this month’s Patch Give 5 effort.
The Reach the Beach relay began Friday, May 20 at Mount Wachusett in Princeton and ended Saturday at Horseneck Beach in Westport. The relay consisted of 160 teams of up to 12 people who took turns running through 36 transition areas as they covered the 200-mile route. Two of those stops were in Norton at and .
I had the pleasure of working with volunteers at Sysco, and our shift was from 2:45 to 10 a.m. Carol Reed was our group coordinator. I was armed with a lighted baton and sported a trendy Reach the Beach tee-shirt and neon orange vest so that runners would know where to go next after being handed the relay baton by their teammate.
But our uniforms paled in comparison to a couple of other teams. I saw one guy in a grass skirt and lei, while another sported his Bruins pride with a bear mask and tuxedo tee. Team names and van decorations were even more impressive. Some bordered on risqué, such as team WTF (Way Too Far) and Fast Girls Mom Warned Ya About.
But no matter the team name, our team of volunteers was there to cheer them on, direct runners to their next leg and feed them with the help of Pete and Gerry’s Organic Egg Farm who donated 14 dozen eggs and Roche Bros. supermarket who donated a $100 gift card.
“We were off like a herd of turtles - as is common with any first time experience - but thanks to quick thinking and teamwork we pulled together and made this a successful event,” Reed said in an email after a couple of days of rest. She also noted that now she knows what worked and what didn’t and next year will be even better.
Team RaceMenu/mix1 won the relay with a time of 20:02:56. They will receive a free entry into the race for the following year. This team is also eligible for the fastest male/female/mixed prize of New Balance shoes for each member of the team.
The race not only awarded the top teams for their running prowess, but the New Balance Reach the Beach Relay also raised money for Massachusetts State Parks and the Run for the Memory program. And what’s more, through food and beverage sales, Nine Lives of Norton raised $594.45. Coupled with the $480 from New Balance, that’s $1,074.45 going to a good cause.
What more could you ask for?