Reach the Beach Relay: 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Are you ready for an epic recap of Reach the Beach (RTB)? I decided to break up my posts by hour (and leg), so you can see how we spent our time participating in a nearly 32-hour relay race. Let’s just say, it was an awesome adventure!

On the morning of Reach the Beach, we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast at the Inn before the race started. Breakfast was a buffet with eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, and various pastries.

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I added eggs, fruit, and a piece of toast with peanut butter to my plate. (My toast doesn’t have peanut butter on it because someone ran out to the van to grab our jar of Teddie, but I was hungry and wanted to eat right away so I snapped a pic before I spread it on.)

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After breakfast, we checked out of our room. Monica, Anne, Theodora, and I shared a cute little suite for the night.

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Then, we packed up the vans.

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And drove to the start of the relay at Wachusett Mountain.

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Hey, Santa! Theodora knows him!

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When we arrived, we took a quick team pic.

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And then headed inside to complete our safety check, orientation, registration, and take another team photo.

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Our first stop, the safety check, involved making sure our team had the required safety equipment for the relay, including flashlights/headlamps, reflective vests, and blinking lights (to attach to the vests).

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Runners are required to wear this equipment when running between the hours of 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM and teams cannot begin the race (or each leg) until they show that they have all of this safety equipment.

Once our safety equipment checked out, we listened to an orientation session that covered all of the rules and regulations for the relay.

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I really liked that Reach the Beach required the safety check and orientation session because there’s a lot of information to know for this relay. It’s all clearly stated in the 42-page Official Race Handbook, but people are busy and not everyone has the time to read through the whole thing. Even if you did, you might still miss a few things, so it was helpful to hear it firsthand to clear up any confusion and get everyone on the same same page before RTB let us loose on the 200-mile course. Safety first!

Registration involved getting our race packets and Reach the Beach t-shirts. We were team #96 and I was runner #7.

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And the last stop was a team photo!

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Once our team was all set to go, we headed to the start of the race.

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At 10:20 AM, Gretchen kicked it off for us!

Her first leg was straight up the mountain!

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How the relay works:

The runner with the first leg will begin at the team’s designated start time. After that runner has started, vehicle #1 will wait at the start area, which is also the first Transition Area (TA) or TA#1. Once the first runner comes in, runner #2 will leave and vehicle #1 can then proceed to TA#2.

For a 12-person team, once the standard team’s first vehicle has dropped off their 6th runner, vehicle #1 will proceed to TA #6 which is also known as a Vehicle Transition Area (VTA) #1. This is the location where vehicle #2 should be waiting with runner #7. Once the hand-off has been made, vehicle #1 can relax at that VTA, head to a restaurant, local town, or the next VTA to catch some sleep.

[source: 2012 Reach the Beach Official Race Handbook]

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Van 1:

Van 2:

With Van 1 off and running, Van 2 had some time to kill (about 6 hours).

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This involved some banana costume action.

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A pit stop at Dunkin Donuts for iced coffee.

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And some relaxing outdoor time at a beautiful park.

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It didn’t really feel like we were running a race because we hung out and relaxed all morning and afternoon long, but, of course, this changed soon enough!


A couple of hours before I was supposed to start the first leg of the relay (our super awesome van driver created a spreadsheet to predict our start times), I ate a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and a banana. It’s my usual pre-run food, so I stuck to what I know works for me.

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I also ate a White Chocolate, Cranberry, Oatmeal Cookie that Kristen from New Balance baked for our team. How nice is she?! These cookies were awesome. I’m actually planning to make them for a special birthday boy later this week!

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Before I knew it, our van was waiting at the first Transition Area for runner #6 (Sarah) to finish her leg and pass off the baton (aka snap bracelet) to me to start Van 2’s first leg.

More to come! Stay tuned!


  1. My boss was at Bellingham High School and said “hi” to you all for me! I couldn’t last until 2:30 when you all showed up 🙁 This looks like such a blast though 🙂

  2. Can’t wait to see how your leg went! Looks like a fun day so far, love the shot of Theodora in my all-time favorite yoga pose, pigeon 🙂 Great for those tight hips…

  3. As someone who is very interested in doing a distance relay, it is great to see these recaps!

    What would you suggest for someone who is interested in doing one of these races but doesn’t know anyone else who is interested? Do you know of a way to join teams that are already formed?

  4. Great post, Tina! We are so delighted that you ran RTB:MA and what wonderful photos you took too. All the best in recovering from the event and I look forward to reading more of the recaps! Perhaps see you at RTB:NH or RTB:NJ later this year? 🙂

  5. I’m loving this recap already! I think I’m doing my first relay in the fall and this is getting me so pumped up! Cannot wait to hear the rest!

  6. Very cool to see some pics from my home town (Worcester)! I’m a Massachusetts trivia geek so I have to point out that the park you stopped at (Elm Park) is the first public park in the United States.

    By the way, running up Wachusett must have sucked 🙂

  7. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog a few days a week. You always seem to have interesting stuff going on. I’m into my weight loss journey (trying to lose 165 lbs), and I’ve noticed that others attend events like 5ks and like this one here. I think I’d like to get involved in fitness events. I never thought about it until seeing and reading up on what you and others are doing. Can you provide any advice on getting started or finding fitness events that are right for my interests?

  8. That looks like so much fun! What a cool experience! Too bad I didn’t know about these cool relay races about 6 years ago! Maybe I’ll have to look into this when my kiddies are a bit older.
    Looks like you guys had a blast…can’t wait to read about more!

  9. OMG…could no help myself & stop at the supermarket on way home from work to buy the ingredients to make the white chocolate, cranberry & oat cookies….amazing, could not help myself and eat the white choc chips out of the bag at the same time! Loving these posts on reach the beach relay!!!

  10. I just came across your blog and loved reading about this relay race. What an adventure, I’d love to be in a relay.

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