Relay is fun twist on 55-mile road race - Green Bay Press Gazette

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Relay is fun twist on 55-mile road race - Green Bay Press Gazette
Apr 15th 2012, 09:09

ASHWAUBENON — After running the anchor leg for a relay team that finished more than 15 minutes before any other team, Cal Kromm stood barefoot as a friend doused his heels and the insides of his shoes with hydrogen peroxide to wash away the blood.

Kromm just got through running 15 miles in a brand-new pair of shoes, which rubbed away the flesh on his heels.

"It doesn't bother me," Kromm said Saturday as the fizzy chemical pooled on the pavement at his feet. "If you don't bleed, you aren't trying, right?"

Kromm's four-man team, the Run Away Shoes Team, was the overall winner in the inaugural Run Away to the Bay 55-mile relay event.

Run Away Shoes, with stores in Ashwaubenon, Appleton and Oshkosh, sponsored the event.

The relay took 55 teams from Menominee Park in Oshkosh to The Bar on Holmgren Way in Ashwaubenon, a distance of 55.3 miles.

Starting times were staggered at 7, 8, 9 and 10 a.m. to try to enable runners of widely differing abilities to all finish the race in a narrow window of time.

Kromm's team started at 10 a.m., yet still managed to finish more than 15 minutes before any other team — even those that started at 7 a.m.

"We're all pretty fast," Kromm said of his teammates, "but I had a big head start, too."

The race consisted of 10 legs or segments, but teams were allowed to have no more than six members, which means most runners ran multiple segments. Kromm ran a total of 15 miles, made up of three segments.

Like many of the runners, the day's 73-degree temperatures caught him off guard.

"The heat got to me," he said. "I went out fast. I was at 53:37 at the 10-mile point, and I died like a dog in the last couple."

It was even too hot for the Trottin' Hotties, a six-woman team that finished the race in about nine hours.

"It was hot," said Lisa Gilmore of Menasha.

Her team started at 7 a.m., and the entire team joined anchor Jill Nondorf of Neenah for the last stretch of the race, which they finished at 4 p.m.

This new relay event isn't as big as Door County's Fall 50, but it'll get bigger and more fun in coming years, Gilmore predicted.

"It's organized really well," she said.

"I'm sure this will grow, just like the one up there," said Paul Dixon of Appleton. The Door County relay has been around several years — Dixon has run in five of them — and has grown to about 400 teams but started out small like this one, he said.

Relays are sort of a new, fun twist on the venerable road race, and most people run them for fun, Dixon said.

"They can be competitive, but it's really about hanging out with friends," he said.

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