race report: wolfson children’s challenge ultra relay {1.28.2017}

This year was the third time I have participated in the Wolfson Children’s Challenge Ultra Relay.

When he was born, little man was transported from our hospital to Wolfson Children’s Hospital because of concerns with his heart. He spent 10 days in their NICU, and while it was terrifying and stressful, we are forever grateful for the care he received while there. (Needless to say, he had grown into the most amazing kid, and has a clean bill of health), and I am always happy to support the hospital.

Empower Coaching put together the team this year, running for Mason and Elsie (who was one of Wolfson’s 55 this year).

There are several categories for runners: a 55K Ultra, 55K Relay and a 30K Ultra, namely. The course is one 5K loop that runners repeat until finished. Runners are welcome to bring their own support crews, and can set up their own drop stations with all the fuel they may need throughout the day. We, with a team of 10, were most decidedly in the Relay category.

We arrived nice and early, and made our way to our tent. The first runners would start at 7:30, and while I was scheduled for the third leg, I was going to help pace our second runner, too. If I was feeling froggy, I was going to go out for three more miles after that was done, for a long run of 9.3.

It was freezing, which seems to be the case for this event. In addition to a camp chair, I had gloves, an ear warmer and even a blanket. I had brought a change of clothes for later, but it really never warmed up so I stayed in capris all day.

At 7:30, we sent off our first runner

And settled in for the wait.

The course changed a little this year, for the better. Last time, we spent a ton of time running alongside Everbank Field and through the stadium’s parking lots. This year, we skipped that altogether and ran through the streets of Jacksonville. There was even a little running along the river, which was nice.

A beautiful sunrise always helps the miles pass more quickly.

My first 6.2 miles went really well. I wasn’t ever able to feel really warm (at one point, I shed my ear warmers, but I had to hold on to the gloves for quite some time).

I’m not sure what was so amusing, but we were laughing about something.

I took a small break after two laps of the course. After a drink and a bathroom break, I headed back out to bring some fuel to one of our teammates. While I was up and moving, I completed the rest of my miles around Everbank Field (not the most scenic, but there were lots of sidewalks and space to run).

And then it was time to enjoy what the venue had to offer. I heard the announcers report that there were record numbers of runners this year, and everything seemed really organized and well put-together, so that was good.

There were plenty of vendors, bounce houses and photo opportunities.

Different local musicians took the stage to provide entertainment for runners and spectators.

And there were plenty of characters out and about. This storm trooper even let me hold his blaster (not a very Storm Trooperly thing to do, in my opinion, but I was absolutely giddy about it!)

We posed for photo booth pictures in Tin Can Photo Lounge, and all of us got a complimentary photo strip, which was such a nice touch.

4Rivers was on hand with a food installation, and a brisket sandwich with macaroni and cheese seemed like the perfect complement to the runner’s free beer.

Before we left, Elsie and her parents came to say hi! She was doing great and we were all so happy to see her! She is such an inspiring little girl.

I was sorry to have to leave before the rest of the team finished, but next year, I am in it for the long haul (to the point that I even mentioned to my friend Stacey that I think I might be up for the 30K!).

Another great year in the books! I can’t wait to do it all over again!

Is there a cause for which you particularly love running?

Have you ever participated in an ultra relay like this?

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26 Responses to race report: wolfson children’s challenge ultra relay {1.28.2017}

  1. Rachel says:

    Aw, what a wonderful cause and a great race. <3
    Rachel recently posted…You Should Try Running BarefootMy Profile

  2. Sounds like a great race! And how awesome that it was for a good cause!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…30 Minute 90s Themed Spinning WorkoutMy Profile

  3. I have done a relay with a group of co-workers…it’s kind of like a Ragnar, but on a much smaller scale (76 total miles). This event looks great! And what a great cause!
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…On the run…with AC/DCMy Profile

  4. Using your passion to raise money and awareness for a charity is the best thing ever! Congrats
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Life Lessons Learned In The Lap LaneMy Profile

  5. Kimberly G says:

    This is such a great cause! I love that you were able to enjoy a great race and raise money for a charity close to your heart.
    Kimberly G recently posted…Running in the Dark with RunLitesMy Profile

  6. Such a great event to support! I love running in support of a cause. Most recently I raced NYC Marathon to raise money for The Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in honor of my niece who is Hearing Impaired.
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Triathlon Talk. 3 Drills For Improving your Strokes.My Profile

  7. Toni says:

    Awesome race and awesome cause! I love participating in events that can help
    Toni recently posted…Take ResponsibilityMy Profile

  8. Wow what a great Ultra and relay for such a wonderful cause! I love being a St. Jude Hero, running and raising money for children fighting cancer. Great job!

  9. Cassandra says:

    I love when running, hanging with friends and supporting an amazing cause all come together! Of course, that BBQ sandwich and mac and cheese didn’t hurt either. Glad to see you guys had such a fun time while making a difference!
    Cassandra recently posted…Work Your Triathlon Weakness: SwimMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      4Rivers is my favorite, so it all worked out 🙂

      It felt really good to be out there with so many inspiring kids and their families. It’s just a little something we can do to help.

  10. Darlene says:

    How fun! What a great cause.

    You run the best races.
    Darlene recently posted…TOLT: Flexibility, Lady Gaga, Work, Giveaway, etc.My Profile

  11. What a great cause–how nice to run for a charity that has an especially big meaning to you!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…4 Reasons You Should Reward Yourself With a Destination Race and a GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  12. What a great cause! I love participating in events for charity, and am honored to be running this year’s Chicago Marathon as a member of Team Ronald McDonald House Charities.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Who Wants to Run the 10th Anniversary of ZOOMA Annapolis?My Profile

  13. What a great cause! I would love to participate in a relay event some time- looks like lots of fun! You find some great events in your neck of the woods! 🙂
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Celebration Half Marathon 2017My Profile

  14. wow that is probably the best post-race food I’ve seen, now I’mhungry lol. Always love a race that is also for a great cause. My mom and I want to organize local races for charity but just dont really know how to go about it.

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