You know the end of summer is approaching when it’s time for the Zilker Relays. This year’s 14th annual event is set for Sept. 9 at Zilker Park.
I love the grass-roots vibe of the race, which features four-person teams of all skill levels, from blistering fast, might-as-well-be-running-in-the-Olympics, to folks just out for a leisurely run. I fit closer to that last category than the first, and since September in Austin is still notoriously hot, the Zilker Relays are always a humbling experience.
The nice part? It’s just a 10-mile race, so each runner tackles a completely doable 2.5-mile leg.
The race is open to all ages and is considered the kickoff to the fall racing season. Participants get food, drinks and live music.
The event, founded by Paul Perrone, has grown in size the last two years; in 2015 registration reached capacity the day before the race. This year’s event is capped at 1,200 runners.
“I believe people are motivated by being part of a team, being part of something bigger than themselves and being part of a community,” Perrone says. “With the relays, rather than compete against each other, runners unite for a common purpose and sense of camaraderie. And even if the race doesn’t go well for someone, there is always the post-race party, dinner and festival.”