The Mill Cities Relay is coming soon! To give you a taste of what to expect, here is an earlier write-up of the 2019 running by Linda and Mike.
December 8, 2019. D-Day, the 78th Anniversary. John Lennon’s Death, the 39th Anniversary. Mill Cities, the 36th Annual Running. They all have something in common. World War II, the war to end all wars, we hoped, but thankfully, still nothing on a global-wide basis has developed. John Lennon sang “Imagine,” as in “imagine all the people, living lives in peace.” Well if there is an exemplification of the good will we hoped for and Lennon inspired us to imagine, a good sample of it can be found in the running of the Mill Cities races.
This race features teams comprising the Mill Cities Relays Alliance and is one of the most supportive events a runner will experience. Though there are teams who run 5 legs and those who run 3, no one can tell (unless they’re way up front), where they are in the race and every runs his/her leg, waiting to hand off the wrist band to their next teammate. But along the way, everyone’s paths cross. The faster runners are dashing by the slower ones. But everyone offers encouragement: “Nice Going, Good Job, Keep it Up, Looking Strong, Almost There” and that seems to carry on with each person passing another. There’s nothing really “IN YOU FACE” about this race, it’s a friendly competition and that’s not an oxymoron. While teams are vying for winning overall honors, and teams are vying for first, second, or third within their category, it is not cutthroat. The gathering at the Claddagh pub postrace is just a mass of comradery. People are excited to see their friends from other teams and have a chance to chit-chat with them and share the details of their leg. There’s cheering all around for teams who earn the coveted bricks and the overall Mill Cities Relays Championship. The gathering is, in fact, too crowded, too noisy, too loud to comfortably carry on a conversation, and plenty wonderful.
The race itself was a mishmosh of conditions: a cold 8 degrees at the start, probably near 30 by arrival in Lawrence, some icy spots, some detours as the bike path was under two feet of snow, (the consensus among runners was leg 4’s detour across the University Ave. bridge and then back across the Ouellette Bridge was a preferred route), there were some tight spots, some snow-covered areas, and one tricky spot where we went from hard-packed snow and ice covered
sidewalks to brick sidewalks, making it very slippery when our now snow-packed shoe soles literally “hit the bricks.” But it was fair as we all faced the same conditions. There was post-race commentary regarding how much support the course had – marshals and police everywhere making sure we were safe at all points and stopping traffic for us. The race was managed well.
Our North Shore Striders had the best showing in years. Mike summed it all up for us in the charts which follow. We earned two bricks! Great job, Striders. So nice to see so many of us enjoying this classic relay race.