Marathon relay along Seattle's Link Light Rail by Race Condition Running.
08:30 September 30th
The relay will start at Angle Lake station and follow the entire operational line to Northgate, with visits to each station on the way. The route passes through Sea-Tac, Tukwila, and Bryn-Mawr Skyway before traversing the length of Seattle.
Anyone in the CSE community is welcome to run as part of the Race Condition Running team. See the section below for details about the team.
New for this year, we're also inviting other running groups who would like to form teams to complete the relay. If you're interested in forming a team, please see the instructions below.
Anyone who would like to form a team is welcome. There are three categories for results purposes: Competitive for teams of four, Ultra for teams of one, and Open for all other formats. All teams will:
Teams are responsible for their own logistics and support during the event.
If you're interested in forming a team, please complete the team signup. There is no cost to register. If there are more teams than we can handle, we may ask any clubs fielding multiple teams to consolidate. Once your team is confirmed, you and your runners will be able to use the main sign-up form.
You must have exactly four runners each running at least one leg. So you may exchange as few as three times or as many times as there are stations. If your goal is to go fast, you probably want to break the distance evenly, but you'll have to weigh whether to cycle runners more frequently (risking botched exchanges) against running for longer blocks.
There are no constraints. The RCR team treats the event like a big long-run, with multiple runners on each leg. See our previous schedules from 2021 and 2022 to get the idea. In any case, we'll collect your runners' preferences and send them to you along with a recommended schedule.
A group chat is probably sufficient, depending on how you decide to divide up legs. Consider having the next runner bring something for the previous to eat and drink.
Make a schedule and stick to it. We'll provide a recommended schedule based on your runners' preferences, but it's up to the team captain (person who added the team) to finalize and distribute assignments. We'll also provide a Google Sheets spreadsheet which you can use to manage live tracking during the event. You can see RCR's from 2021 and 2022 as examples.
The route is only slightly longer than a marathon, making it easy to run unsupported. Otherwise, there are lots of shops along the way for water and food.
Exchanges: The easiest way to manage exchanges is to meet on the surface level at the exact points marked on the route then take a photo with the nearest station art or signage.
Getting around: Stations are conveniently accessible via light rail and other transit services. See Seattle Transit Blog's page for a refresher on how to get around using transit, and check the ORCA site for recommendations on how to purchase fares. UW students can ride for free using their Husky IDs.
RCR is participating in the Open Category with multiple runners assigned to each leg.
Anyone in the CSE community is welcome to run as part of the Race Condition Running team. We interpret this broadly.
Depends on how long and where you want to run. The RCR team typically takes about 6.5 hours to complete the event (running from 08:30 to 15:00). If you have a hard time constraint, please include it in your registration comments.
On September 30th, 2023 22 RCR runners carried a baton from Angle Lake to Northgate. This year, two other teams, with other batons, completed the same journey. It now makes even less sense for me to attempt to capture what has always been a collective experience, but I'll try in the interest of continuing to improve the event.
RCR ran like clockwork, never straying more than 10 minutes off schedule. We did, for the first time, start late, as Josh and I had to wait on the platform to give a late arriving team their baton. Maybe we'll arrange baton pickup separately in the future.
Light Rail Relay began with a simple motivation—to increase access to a Ragnar-like road relay experience for our club—but it's steadily absorbed other purposes. By scheduling happenstance, it's the first run we get to advertise to new students at the beginning of the academic year. The novelty and the low-barrier format work great for pulling in folks new to Seattle or new to running. For runners of all experience levels, permission to slow down is a chance to reevaluate whether running some large-seeming number of miles is as difficult as they think it is (something I felt acutely after completing the "ultra" this year and feeling...fine). As we do group runs from transit stops more often, LRR has also served as a mass orientation to transit in the city.
Inviting outside groups has been a chance to see what purpose the event might serve for others. Despite its origins, I was still surprised to see Rainier Beach Running Club embrace the event as a classic team relay, train-caravanning while individual runners traded off the baton. And I was impressed that several Googlers earnestly took the chance to run with coworkers they hadn't met before. After talking with both teams, I think LRR can easily be a durable and sustainable attraction for groups of all sorts. We'll need to look further to build a worthy competitive field in the future however, as RBRC's dominant performance deserves company.
Link is on the edge of dramatic expansion. The partial opening of the 2 Line next Spring is just the start of what will be 18 miles of new service to the East and more than 16 miles of new 1 Line service over the next three years. The magnitude and suburban character of the resulting routes could make for quite a different relay— or not, if we choose to simply ignore the highway segments. That's a puzzle for future relays.