Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Team 4tunate has received a number of queries recently about our best practices from previous Blue Ridge Relay efforts.  That is not to say we are the experts….in fact, I would suggest following these items only if you are not expecting to win.  We enter this race for a variety of reasons:  fun, challenge, story-telling, and friendship.  Please notice that “winning” is not on that list – it’s more about personal challenge.  Now – onto the list:

(Jason S., John, Dave – feel free to add.  Olivia / Mike – would be interested in your thoughts from a driver’s perspective…after all, you are the reason we are able to have fun and run this race)

  • Read the instructions carefully – When Ken says that reflective vests are required on the Blue Ridge Parkway, he means it.  Don’t drive your van or support vehicle on the Parkway, pick up your trash, be kind to volunteers, etc. 
  • Create little maps for every runner – it’s important that each runner have a small map with the turns and elevation map.  This will help reduce the number of times your runners get lost.  The course is fairly well marked but maps are needed.  Also, get the maps laminated to account for sweat and general destruction in the van.  Team 4tunate will be reusing their maps from last year.
  • The night before – since Team 4tunate is based in Charlotte, we drive up the morning the race.  While this does cause an early wakeup call (we usually leave Charlotte by 3am), it is worth it since there are not many hotels/motels near the start.  Also, be careful about trusting Mapquest or Google maps to get to the start.
  • After the race – Enjoy!  I saw on the “New This Year” that the organizers received agreement from the local YMCA to allow runners to shower after the race.  Great addition to the race!
  • Get your van organized – Understand who will drive which legs and who gets to sit in which seats or benches.  If you can get one bench per runner, it will work a lot better for sleep and general comfort.  Also, organize your van so the coolers are easily accessible (we put ours at the front of the van).  Finally, limit the number of personal bags per person to one medium bag.
  • Get the van routes organized – This is especially important if you have more than one van, which is presumably every team with more than 6 runners.  Understand when the vans will meet up.
  • Take advantage of the food offered on the route – Last year, there were sandwiches in the middle of the night and pancakes in the morning.  The $5 per serving was the best money spent as the food was fresh and good.
  • Bring newspaper to help dry out wet shoes – This is a Jason S. suggestion and does help to dry out shoes and keep the van smelling (relatively) ok.  Speaking of which….
  • Bring air freshners to keep the van from smelling like a broken sewage plant – Mike/Olivia – threw this one in for the both of you….I promise we will do better this year
  • Decorate your van so people know who you are!

Above all – just have fun with the race!  Feel free to add some of your own best practices.  Also, check out Jason S.’s post immediately following last year’s race.


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