Running multiple events in a track & field relay meet is challenging. Even more so when there are 17 teams, the competitors are middle school kids, and the relays (with multiple heats) are squeezed into three hours. Throw in a few curve balls, and it becomes an experience not soon to be forgotten.
Such was the setting for the 12th annual Jim Keller Middle School Track & Field Relay Championships, organized by the New Fairfield Flash middle school track team on the beautiful campus of New Fairfield High School, Connecticut, on April 24. My son had the opportunity to participate together with his team mates from the New Canaan Running Club. It was the running club’s – as well as my son’s – first ever relay meet.
In the span of three hours, my son competed in the 4x800m relay (running the anchor leg), the 4x400m relay (running 3rd leg), and the 800m leg of the distance medley relay (1200, 400, 800, and 1600). He had never tripled in a track meet before. At the beginning of the 4x800m relay, the boys were lined up on the track infield and told that it was a cross-country style relay around the school campus (including a hill). Curve ball! The 4x400m relay was run on the track. And the distance medley relay was run on the track except for the closing 1600m, which again was run cross-country style and required a “course walk” before the race. Another curve ball!
It was a terrific experience for the New Canaan Running Club and my son, which included warming up multiple times, staying mentally focused over three events in three hours, running both cross country and track, receiving and handing off batons (after first baton hand-off practice the day before), running in less than ideal conditions (being exhausted from multiple events, running into strong headwinds), and so on. Most important for the kids was having fun, enjoying the camaraderie with team mates, and learning about multi-event relay meets. The icing on the cake was the distance medley team finished 5th of 17 teams!
4x800m cross country style relay
Hand-off in 4x400m relay
Final event of the day – distance medley relay