Standing out on skyline blvd, helping direct runners through a series of turns in the course that at 3am are very easy to miss, I'm reminded about how much more than running these relays are about.
Many other teams runners were helped by us being in that intersection. Would they have missed the turn? Perhaps not, but if they had it would have added a very large toll on the athlete and team time, and is very demotivating. We were there to try to be there to help our athlete, for whom thinking can be a huge struggle, from exhaustion and adrenaline. Its what great teams do to increase their chance s of getting through unscathed.
My first leg was a great example -- I wasn't sure of a turn's street sign, one I was even expecting, had trouble reading it, and Kerry was there with the rest of the crew to help me correct sooner. Instead of losing a minute or two, I was back on track in seconds.
All of this is in addition to emotional support, which is even more important. There are eight mile slogs uphill in debilatating heat, when the team being there for encouragement is all that keeps the runner going.
Competing in these relays is truly a team effort.