Eliud Kipchoge and the NN Running Team have announced that the wildly successful MA RA TH ON virtual team relay will be returning this year. The event was introduced in 2020 when in-person races all over the world were getting cancelled every day, and although some runs have made comebacks this year, many are still waiting to return. Because of this, the NN Running Team has decided to hold the event again, giving runners around the world something to train for and the chance to compete against (or with) Kipchoge and other marathon stars. The relay will take place on May 22 and 23.
The 2020 MA RA TH ON relay saw a whopping 106,000 individuals sign up from more than 100 countries worldwide. As noted on the NN Running website, more than 8,000 teams raced the relay, and in total, the event saw almost 840,000 kilometres run. Many of the NN Running Team’s star athletes competed, including Kipchoge, Geoffrey Kamworor, Kenenisa Bekele and Ashete Bekere.
Kamworor, who was the half-marathon world record holder at the time, ran the fastest individual 10.5K split (he actually ran 10.6K) among all of the men who raced the MA RA TH ON, finishing in 30:08, which works out to a 28:26 10K. Bekere, the 2019 Berlin Marathon champion, ran the fastest women’s individual split (she also ran 10.6K), crossing her virtual finish line in 34:15 (which works out to about a 32:19 10K). Canadian Reid Coolsaet also ran, finishing with the 19th-fastest 10.5K leg.
How the race works
Everything is recorded on Strava, which is the same format as last year’s relay. After registering for the MA RA TH ON and linking your Strava account to the race, you will be able to make your team, which will consist of four runners. Individuals without a team can request to join other runners, so even if you can’t find three friends who want to run with you, you’ll still be able to race.
The relay starts at on May 22 and goes right until 11:59 p.m. on May 23. In that timeframe, you can run as many 10.5Ks as you want, and your fastest will be selected as your official result. Once the weekend is over, the times from each relay member will be added together to produce the team’s time.
Also like last year, some teams will be joined by NN Running athletes. If your team is lucky enough to be linked with Kipchoge, Joshua Cheptegei or another NN Running Team member, all five of your times will be added together, and an average pace will be determined to figure out your team’s 42.2K finishing time. This ensures that everyone’s runs will be counted, even if you’re joined by a world-class marathoner.
The event is free and registration is open now, so head over to the NN Running website to get your team in order ahead of the May 22 and 23 run dates.