A 200-mile relay road race is a team-oriented event with 36 legs. Each team consists of either twelve runners and two vehicles (the vast majority of the teams) or six runners and one vehicle (Ultra teams). For our 165-mile relay races have 30 legs and teams consist of ten runners; ultra teams have five.

One thing to be very aware of is the course of long distance relays are NOT CLOSED. Runners run along shoulders of roads and both runners and their vans must follow traffic laws.

Teams are self-supporting. Each 10/12-person team supplies two vehicles, an Active Van and a Resting Van. The active van is the vehicle that carries the runners who are currently running the course; the resting van carries the runners who are eating and/or resting before it is their turn. The active van prepositions itself at a predetermined point called an Exchange to drop off the next runner and pick up the current runner. Ultra teams supply one van which is always an active van.

As a runner finishes their leg, they high five the next runner at the Exchange Point. The active van then drives on to the next exchange to wait for the runner to arrive.

Every fifth (30 legs) or sixth (36 legs) exchange is designated as a Van Exchange. This is where the active van and resting van change roles as runners in the first van have finished their five/six legs and the next van of runners begin theirs. During the late night/early morning hours, the resting van will preposition themselves at the next Van Exchange. During this "down" time, runners will throw out sleeping bags to try to get a bit of sleep before it is their turn to run again.

Teams need to stock their vans with water, food, sports drinks, and first aid kits. There are no aid stations at the exchanges. Some teams will do their own driving; some teams will recruit a driver for their van(s). Drivers do not fulfill the relay volunteer requirement.

Teams, depending on their pace, will be out on the course anywhere from 20 to 34 hours. Teams start in waves every fifteen to thirty minutes with the slower teams starting in the first wave and the elite teams starting in the last last, latest wave.


Running a relay is a lot of fun. Most participants are hooked on the relay concept after their first one. There is something special about going for a run at 3 in the morning under the moon and stars. Relays also provide a wonderful bonding experience and unique camaraderie that isn't found in other events. Just read some of the feedback we've received from participants. You also have the chance to be silly by running in a costume or decorating your van. Then there is the finish, where it is a tradition for a team to cross the finish line together. But there are logistics to figure out so planning ahead will make it easier come race day.

The first thing you need to do is to put a team together. You can start by recruiting your running friends to join you. It's always best to get a commitment by collecting their share of the registration. If you don't have enough friends to put together a team, make some new running friends by checking out our Team Matching Message Board.

Next, if you don't have two vehicles, reserve a van or SUV from our partner, Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We have negotiated special rates for Roads Less Traveled Relay participants.

If you are from out of the area, or would like to spend some days after the relay, make hotel reservations early so you have a wider selection. Visit our Travel Section for lodging information.


To qualify as winners, teams must follow all Rules.

  • Competitive teams must maintain the order of runners submitted on the Roster at the start. The 200-mile course is divided into 36 legs, and each team member runs three times, every twelfth leg, in rotation (i.e. Runner 1 runs Legs 1, 13, 25). Our 165-mile course is divided into 30 legs. Each team member runs three times, every tenth leg, in rotation (i.e. Runner 1 runs Legs 1, 11, 21).
  • Competitive ultra teams also must maintain the order of runners submitted on the Roster at the start. The 200-mile course is divided into 36 legs, and each team member runs six times, every sixth leg, in rotation (i.e. Runner 1 runs Legs 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31). The 165-mile course is divided into 30 legs, and each team member runs five times, every fifth leg, in rotation (i.e. Runner 1 runs Legs 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26).
  • If a runner on a competitive team is injured, the next runner in rotation must substitute and others move up. See a further explanation on the Rules page.
  • For noncompetitive Helter Skelter teams, a team can have their runners run in any order.
  • When assigning legs, review the Course Summary Table.


  • Ten/Twelve person teams divide into two groups with five/six runners per vehicle. While the Active Van is completing six legs, six runners in the Resting Van can shower, eat, or rest. Ultra teams are permitted one van.
  • Runners 1-6 will be assigned to Van 1, which will be active on Legs 1-6, 13-18 and 25-30. When Runner 6 hands the baton to Runner 7, Van 1 finishes its six legs and Van 2 begins. Similarly, Runners 7-12 will be assigned to Van 2, which will be active on Legs 7-12, 19-24 and 31-36. When Runner 12 hands the baton to Runner 1, Van 1 takes over.
  • These exchanges are called Van Exchanges and occur at every sixth Exchange. (6, 12, 18, 24, 30) or every fifth leg (6 instead of 5 for space reasons, 10, 15, 20, 25).
  • Captains may calculate and anticipate the timing of Van Exchanges by using pace estimates of runners. To allow for error, Resting Vans should arrive at Van Exchanges 30 minutes prior to the predicted hand-off. Cell phones and 2-way radios are useful for van communications. However, please note that there are some sections of the relay route where there is no cell phone coverage.


Teams starting times won't be announce until the week after registration closes. To get an idea of the time your team would start, calculate an average per mile pace of your team based on each member's 10k time and look at the Start Timing Planning chart under the Captain's menu.

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