7 Tips to Be a Good Relay Marathon (or Half Marathon) Teammate

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1) Plan to be flexible

Even seasoned runners can have a bad day (or a really good day!) and predicted times will start to unravel the further into the event. Within reason, prepare for the absolute best time your runner will make it to the exchange and the worst time.


No one wants to wait while their crew tries to get their act together and no one wants to feel even worse when they’ve just had a tough leg.

2) Keep communicating

Assuming you are split between 2 vehicles, it is imperative you keep the other group up-to-date with any information that could potentially affect them. Additionally, communicate between each other and keep it matter-of-fact.

3) Pack 99%

This one is tricky. You want to bring enough gear to not have to borrow anything, but you want to be mindful that everyone will be sharing a small space.

Sort out the items you can’t/won’t share, such as apparel, a toothbrush, etc. and make a list of things you can share, such as a headlamp, packages of baby wipes.

4) Sharing is caring

Speaking of sharing, make sure you are doing plenty of it. Don’t be the person who is always sleeping, never driving, or so caught up in your own running that you forget to help out your teammates.

5) Find your contribution

It is not just important to contribute in the material sense, but how you will add to the group. Are you a leader who is comfortable making decisions for the group?

Are you a peacemaker who will know when it time to take a hothead for a walk? Or are you the type that keeps everyone in stitches all night because you know how to have fun? Know it and own it!

6) Bring patience

A relay should be fun, not stressful. Something will go wrong and you will have to deal with it. Unless it is a medical emergency, there is no reason to panic. If you can’t find an extra pair of socks or your driver took 2 wrong turns, try to remember you are in it for fun.

7) Food & sleep

Humans are wired to get cranky when they are hungry and/or tired. Not all problems are solved with calories and a nap, but recognize that many of the frustrations as the evening wears on often stems from one of these two things. Be respectful of noise if someone needs to nod off and keep the snacks flowing.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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