They say when a person is pushed to an extreme, you tend to find out what "they are made of." Vince Lombardi, the famous coach (and often quoted) of the old Green Bay Packers, once said "If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” Well, over the past weekend, as we tweeted @mccartyseasons, #teamguzman, a group of long time friends, pushes to a physical extreme, accomplished a tremendous feat, when they participated in the "Reach the Beach Relay" and completed a 208 mile run in New Hampshire, from Cannon Mountain to Hampton Beach.
Now to write about this feat will not do it justice enough because what was on display from early Friday morning to Saturday afternoon was truly special. It was teamwork at its best and the perfect example of what happens when 12 runners keep their "eye on the prize," dealing with very little rest and the many obstacles in their way (Including a Moose). Each runner took three legs, ranging from 3 miles to 9 in length and in many cases had over 500 foot climbs in elevation during these runs. Some of the legs were done in the hot sun while others were completed in the darkness of the New Hampshire woods in the middle of the night. When the team's captain completed the last leg down Hampton Beach, fighting through a damaged knee and foot, it put an exclamation point on several months of hard work put in by each member of the team.
While the captain finished the race (and did a fantastic job organizing the whole run for the team), there were 11 other runners who all contributed to the success of the day. One member ran more miles than an normal marathon and was still strong at the end. Another took on a 1000 foot rise, twice on the same run, keeping a strong pace in the process. One member repeatedly offered to step into situations where a change in runner might have been needed. And yet another chose to run extra to support his teammate. And it goes on and on! Van 1 set the pace at the beginning and Van 2 sustained it. And when the last runs of the day came, what happened? Everyone pushed stronger into the finish with their best times of the race and in the end, all crossed the finish line together, 208 miles from Cannon Mountain.
The Reach the Beach event is just an amazing event that one can't really fully grasp unless they are part of it. From the hundreds of decorated vans to the most inventive of team names and the visual of many sleeping bags scattered across the grounds of each transition point, the RTB is a memory that will never fade. Also the camaraderie among teams was high as friendly conversations as well as support for those who needed water (and help with other things) was evident all over the place. The sense that "we are all doing this together" probably best describes this!
One note on the volunteers of the event: they were fantastic at each transition point. We tweeted about the kids at the Kenneth Brett school who made some of the goodies for the participants and were using it as an opportunity to get donations for a school trip. Boy Scouts were all over the route and some were even directing traffic! Overall, one could not have asked for better support from the many kind and smiling individuals along the race.
So with that said, Team Guzman will have more of these races in the future but this one was very special in my opinion. It was the first time in a long time that the group got together and went out and competed since the flag football and Frisbee days at Providence College. And to complete such a challenge is a tribute to the character of the group. While I was just a passenger on this ride (I hurt my foot in the summer and had to bow out unfortunately), it was a fun ride to witness grit, determination and teamwork up close and personal. That is something I wil never forget.
Congratulations Team Guzman (and all the other teams that completed the Relay).