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Running Races to Support a Friend and Others

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You could hop a flight in Chicago and be in New York about 2 hours and 15 minutes later. Or you could join a running relay, and aim to arrive 22 days later. So goes the schedule for the Timex ONE Relay, which has 100 runners covering the 800 miles (the final athletes will arrive in New York on Thursday, October 30). Not only does each athlete earn bragging rights—and the chance to try out the Ironman One GPS+ smartwatch—but also $100 per mile for their favorite charity.

Indeed, Kaley Burns earned $1,000 in 74 minutes (a personal best) for Stand Up to Cancer as a way to honor a running buddy she lost to ovarian cancer two months before. “A group of us made it our mission to support her journey until she could run with us again,” says Burns, a Chicago grad student and triathlete. “I’ll continue to raise awareness knowing she runs—or bikes or swims—alongside me.”

As much as Kaley admits a love of friendly competition, she’s more concerned with “enjoying the event and encouraging others along the way.” With a long-distance relay, there’s plenty of opportunity for both. Unlike a typical race, where you're in it for yourself, with a relay groups of runners travel together, tag-teaming the running part while the rest of the group drives the distance, awaiting their turns. These races can cause a lot of personal growthyou'll challenge your body, strengthen your mind, and gain new friends! After trekking across several states, you'll not only enjoy the euphoric satisfaction and enviable bragging rights from crossing the finish line, but you'll develop even stronger bonds, create some fun stories to tell and make fantastic memories. 

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These aren't the elementary-school relay races you remember. If you're looking to bring a little team spirit to your run, check out some other long-distance team relays:

Road Less Traveled Relays
Courses of various distances in Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, Nebraska and Iowa

Great Lakes Relay
A nearly 300-mile three-day run across Michigan, from the Upper Penninsula to Lake Michigan.

Ragnar Relays
Choose from 14 different races—some overnight, some multiday—including courses across Cape Cod, from Miami to Key West, or through Napa Valley.

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