Running is fairly solitary, but this past week I had two community events.

First, on Tuesday, I headed into the City for the second New York Runners Who Blog get together. TK (@pigtailsflying) organized this one, and it was at a bar/restaurant on East 53rd named BlackFinn. All-in-all a very nice evening, with food ordered, and eaten this time around. There were some interesting discussions, and I may post something on them. They concern why I’m not a triathlete or duathlete so seem worthy of a stand-alone post.

Second, on Wednesday, I hosted a program on the RunnersRoundTable. You can listen to it here. (It’s on iTunes too.) The subject: road relays, about which I have written before. I think it’s something all runners should try at least once. Give a listen. (And give comments/criticisms if you’d like.)

Guillermo to Gregg, 2006 RTB

Guillermo to Gregg, 2006 RTB

Tavia got Paul Vanderheiden, RD of the Green Mountain Relay (as well as the Wild West Relay in Colorado). He’s organized Timberline Enterprises (@timberlineevent). I found it interesting that the Relays make contributions to local charities, whose many volunteers make these things doable. He said that west-coast relays have tended to require teams to “contribute” volunteers while this is not done on the east coast. For his relays, which are relatively small, he came up with an innovation: in lieu of a volunteer, teams can contribute cash, which goes to the local charities.

How does this gibe with my view of charities and races? Well here it’s pretty straight-forward. The races need the volunteers, and so there’s a direct connection between the extra payment — which is not too much given the cost of these things to begin with — and the race itself. It’s a win-win. Again, if you haven’t done one of these it’s hard to appreciate how crucial the volunteers are, especially those manning their posts at 2 or 3 am. In the rain. If you do run one, thank everyone is sight.

Among the guest was Teri Smith (@RunningRelays), whose site, RunningRelays.com, lists more relays than I imagined existed; I’d love to do the London Odyssey.

Toni Harvey (@Drusy) shepherded all of this and was our final panelist. I was nervous before the event; it’s not as simple as it seems. But I had a good time doing it.

Here’s a video that my teammate Greg Stern put together for the 2006 Reach-the-Beach. I think it captures the essence of the thing:

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