In March of 2015, our team of eleven runners joined in The Palmetto 200, a 206 mile relay race designed to make top athletes look like wimps. The annual relay begins at Coble Plaza in Columbia; runners make their way across South Carolina, ending at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.
Why did we do this? Was it for the betterment of mankind? Team-building? Or to eat more pizza? The jury is still out. But here are some thoughts from our team members.
Mat: I thought it would be a good way to get to know some of my co-workers. I had only been at DWG for about a month when I heard about the run.
Kenny: It’s been awhile since I’ve been on a team, so I was looking forward to the camaraderie and meeting new people.
We have to admit, spending the weekend packed into a van with your smelly co-workers and strangers doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to most people. But, we’re not most people.
Ryan: The Palmetto 200 was quite a challenging experience. To be honest, I did not fully comprehend what I had signed up for. When we arrived in Columbia for the start of the race, it hit me. I will say that there is a solid reason why I do not normally run at 3AM. I was also worried about being trapped in a car with several other runners who were unable to shower for 24+ hours. I think towards the end, everyone had become immune to each other’s smell.
Seriously, we can’t make this up.
Kenny’s embarrassing tidbit: The race packet talked about running in a reflective vest during the runs through the night. I’d never even heard of running in a vest, and so showed up with a construction safety vest packed. I had even done a few miles in it around my neighborhood to make sure there were would be no chafing issues. When someone joked that running in a construction vest would be terrible, I didn’t volunteer that I had brought mine… Now I know that they make reflective vests made specifically for running.
Oh, and we only lost one runner. For realz.
Mat: My wife, Tammy, was running the first night leg; she started about the time the sun was disappearing over the horizon. Tammy’s last words to me before she began her run were “Since it’s going to be dark make sure you are there when I get finished running”.
This was also the checkpoint that allowed us to stop and get a bite to eat, a high priority. We all stood in line to get food and by the time we got through the line I was nervous that we might not make it to the next check point before Tammy finished. As we drove to the check point we looked at each runner we passed to see if it was Tammy. We kept getting closer to the check point and so far, no Tammy. As we pulled in we saw Tammy waiting for us, not looking very happy. Our next runner had to hurry out of the van, get on all the required night time running gear, and get our team baton from Tammy before he could begin running. Oops.
So, how’d we do? Not too bad, considering we’re a bunch of engineers. We placed 28th with a time of 31 hrs, 12 min. (pace: 9:04/mile). Not too shabby.
"Happiness is pushing your limits and watching them back down."
Yeah, we just quoted some shoe company…