COB Relay brings team aspect into running
Distance running is typically an individual sport, which is probably one of the reasons it’s so popular.
There’s no coordinating group practice or finding time on a court or field that works into the schedule of teammates.
Runners can just step out the front door and start trotting.
The Fifth Annual Colorado Outward Bound (COB) Relay is a different sort of distance race. The 170-mile run from Idaho Springs to Two Rivers Park in Glenwood – which begins today at 6 a.m. and ends Saturday morning – puts the team aspect into the traditionally individual endeavor.
“I feel like half the battle was to organize the whole team effort thing,” said Mina Erlandsen, the captain of the Rascal team made up primarily of local residents. “We had a heck of a time organizing people to do group runs and train, but I think that is kind of part of the Colorado Outward Bound intent – use teamwork to make things happen.”
The COB Relay, which benefits the Colorado Outward Bound School, is the only race of its kind in Colorado. Organizers expect 1,000 runners and over 300 volunteers to take part in the event this year.
Runners participate in teams of 10, with each runner responsible for three legs of the race. Each leg averages around five miles. The relay also offers the option of “ultra” teams of five runners, with each runner responsible for a single leg averaging 34 miles.
The Rascal team is made up of locals Erlandsen, Jon Zalinski, Steve Pawlak, Steve Vanderhoof, Mike Brin, Scott Carr, Jim Richmond and John Stroud. Also on the team are Franta Tempir, whose son works in Glenwood, and Golden’s Ralph Mock.
“Running is not a team sport and never has been,” Erlandsen said. “So this being an actual team has changed it and I think we’ve all really liked it.”
The organization for the Rascals began seven months ago in March, when Erlandsen called Vanderhoof and Pawlack about the event. The team began meeting in June and tried to get a group run together at least once a week.
The team has been somewhat fluid during that time, as injuries and other commitments knocked some team members out of the event.
John Stroud was the most recent addition to the team, joining last week.
“He got on the team last week and we gave him the toughest leg almost immediately,” Erlandsen said.
But there are plenty of tough legs to go around. The course features almost every type of terrain, from paved roads to dirt trails. The route also features four passes – Guanella, Kenosha, Georgia and Vail – and as with any outdoor event in Colorado in September, weather can always be a factor.
“We don’t know what to expect,” Erlandsen said.
If the skies are clear, the runners will be blessed with a full moon for the night legs of the race however.
The Rascals expect to finish the course in 26-27 hours which will put them at Two Rivers between 8 and 9 a.m.
“I know we’ll finish and that’s the goal,” Erlandsen said. “And I think we’ll have a good time doing it.”
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