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Corey Squire

223 miles in 23 Hours and 47 Minutes

Posted by on 10/22/13 at 12:01pm

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to run from Republic Square Park in Austin to the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi. The race was the fourth annual running of “Capital to Coast” – a 223 mile relay race for teams of 12 incredibly committed runners.  After 36 legs and very little sleep, my team crossed the finish line on the beach in Corpus Christi in First place, destroying the previous course record by more than two hours.

Though I’ve been running for my entire life, I had never done a long distance relay and had no idea what to expect.  I quickly learned the routine – One person is always running, while the other 11 are driving in two vans. Van number one drops off the first runner and then drives ahead to the first exchange. Once there, runner number two warms up and takes off with the baton when the first runner arrives. The process is repeated until everyone in the first van runs their first leg and we hand off the baton to van number two.

The race is comprised of 36 legs varying from 4 to 8 miles and each of the 12 runners gets to do 3 of them.  I was runner #6, so I got legs #6 (5.6 Miles), #18 (7.7 Miles), and #30 (7.6 miles).  Somehow, I ended up running 21 miles, the longest total mileage.

race course 650

Let the live blogging commence!

 

10/18 10:00 AM:  We arrive in Austin to an empty and sad looking starting line.  The teams (50 teams were competing this year) have staggered start times with the faster team starting later.  The first teams began at 4:00 AM. Our start time is 10:30 and we’ll be starting with one other team, a group of runners from UT Austin.

start650

10:30 AM: The race is off! The first leg heads over the bridge and down South Congress with our team and UT running neck and neck. For the next day somebody from the team will always be running while the other 11 try to recover and prepare for the next leg.

12:30 PM (Mile 18.5): We finally drop the UT team and were running on our own for a few hours until we begin to pass the teams who started before us.

2:30 PM (Mile 37.1): After a minor car accident almost took out the transition zone, I began my first leg in Mendoza, TX. The jog along Rt 2001 took 31 minutes and being the last runner in car number one, I handed off the baton to van number two. This begins a 4 hour break before our second legs.

First hand off650

4:00 PM (Mile 51.1): We arrive at Seguin High School for Subway sandwiches, $2 showers, and a brief rest. Exchange number 12 is right outside and we are able to lie down on the gym floor while we wait for van number two to show up. Luckily, I remembered to bring this week’s New Yorker.

6:00 PM (Mile 69.7): The last runner from van two rolls into Seguin and now that we’re clean and rested, we’re off for everyone’s second leg.

7:00 PM (Mile 78.9) Sunset, Rain, and Rush hour! The next two hours are the worst conditions of the race, but on the bright side, we finally begin passing the teams that started 4 to 6 hours before us.

9:15 PM (Mile 99.9) it’s 50 degrees and drizzling for my second leg, from Stockdale, TX to some random Valero along Rt. 123. I head out with a headlamp, a reflective vest, and some blinking red lights into what seems like complete darkness. I’m preoccupied   adjusting all my new night running gear and forget to start my watch so I have no idea of my progress until the van meets me for water 4 miles in. Despite hills and rain, I passed 9 teams during this stretch, finishing in 45 minutes and then handed the baton back to the second van.

10:30 PM (Mile 111.5) we arrive at our second rest station, Karnes City Junior High a.k.a. paradise. This school not only has free showers, bananas, and towels, but the gymnasium is filled with cots! It looks just like the zombie apocalypse fallout shelter that I’d been dreaming of.  We head to Dairy Queen for smoothies and then back to the school where I settle into a cot at 11:30 and set my watch alarm for 12:45.

10/19 12:45 AM (Mile 132.4) The alarm goes off, ending the most restful hour of my life. We get back in the van and drive to exchange 24 to begin our third legs.

2:00 AM (Mile 144.0) Cold and drizzling in nowhere’sville, TX, we meet van two at the exchange. I’m partially asleep in the back seat of the van thinking that maybe I should stretch or eat or drink or something.

5:15 AM (Mile 172.2) I wake up when the van stops short. The road is full of raccoons and they’re not going anywhere. There are reports of creepy country Texans following runners from other teams and random people knocking on other teams vans and waking people up. We start following the runners closely, checking in every mile or so.

5:30 AM (Mile 174.5) In Beeville, TX and time for my third leg. I’ve got all my blinking bling gear and I’m somewhat stretched and warmed up, maybe. About a quarter mile into the leg, two enormous dogs come running after me and suddenly I’m full of energy. I take off down Rt 181 and after 42 minutes hand the baton off the van number two. The first van is all done. We just need to roll into Corpus and wait for the finish.

6:30 AM (Mile 185.8) Sponge bath in the bathroom sink at Valero and I’m refreshed and good to go.

7:30 AM (Mile 195.1) The sun is up and after successfully convincing the team that we don’t want drive-thru McGriddles for breakfast, we roll into Hester’s Café in Corpus Christi for an amazing post run meal.  Plenty of food photos are sent to the other van for the enjoyment of those who are still running.

food650

10:00 AM (Mile 220.1) Our last runner is crossing the causeway into Corpus, just three miles from the finish. We are so far ahead of schedule that the finish line isn’t assembled yet. The race organizers hear the news and scramble to get things ready. We head back a few blocks so we can run through the finish as a team.

Finishline650

10:17 AM (Mile 223) We all cross the finish line in 23 hours, 47 minutes and thus ends the longest, most exhausting, and most memorable day ever. We have a quick awards ceremony before getting back in the vans and returning to San Antonio in triumph.

  • Adam

    Already traversing Texas I see, way to go Corey!

  • Larry

    I hope you got some nice bling!