What do a Cat 1 cyclist and 4 triathletes do for team bonding? Run a marathon relay that spans two countries, of course! Sunday, October 21, Team Priority Health ladies Robyn Kaiser, Katie Whidden, Cheryl Olson, Amy Stauffer & Roxane Kippen vied for a podium spot at the Detroit Freepress Marathon.
The relay field at the Detroit Marathon caps out at 600 teams, of which, the Team PH ladies were up against 85 womens open teams. Prior to the race, we’d calculated the pace needed to crack last year’s top 3 was about an 8 minute / mile pace. We knew it was doable and set out sights on a 3:30 marathon.
For fear of missing our shuttles to the relay exchanges, the day started earlier than any other race day I’ve had with a 4:15 alarm, short commute into downtown Detroit, and a quick manuever into a very tight parking spot. While Katie, Amy and I boarded nice heated buses and were shuttled to our relay exchanges, and Cheryl enjoyed the luxury of waiting the start of her leg in the casino with flush toilets, Robyn weathered the cold morning at the start line and a 20-minute port-a-potty line.
Carrying passports, Robyn’s leg crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor and Katie ran the return leg to USA via the tunnel, and both banked some extra time by averaging sub-8 minute pace Thank you ladies! The remainder of the race was on US soil along the banks of the Detroit River and around Belle Isle. I got to round out the last 4.4 miles of the marathon, which included a beer hand up from a “non-traditional” aid station and cross through the finish at 3:29, one minute under our goal!
An initial check of results showed us in the money in third place, but more recent “unofficial results” put us in 4th by a mere 2 minutes!! So, if my calculations are right, if we could have shaved less than 5 seconds off our pace, we would have landed ourselves on the podium. However, the experience was one that I will never forget and it gave us a great opporunity to finally spend some time together after a long busy summer season. I will settle for 4th place out of 85 all womens teams any day. Thanks for a great weekend ladies!