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Captaining a Team

You are choosing to captain a team for an extreme running event. The course is challenging. Your runners should expect to encounter loose gravel, traffic, many types of weather and darkness. Please prepare them mentally and physically for this strenuous yet rewarding experience. Here are some instructions and tips to get you (and your team) ready for the big weekend!

Captaining a Team

  • As captain, you must be the first team member to register and set up the team. Come up with a good team name, and remember that you can always change the name before May 13th. When creating a team, you will also set up a team password, which you will need to provide to runners for them to join your team. 

  • Teams will consist of up to 12 people. You can run with less, but 12 is the maximum.

  • Participants must be at least 14 years old. Anyone under 18 years old will need the waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.

  • It is best to build your team early, to plan for unforeseen training injuries and to take advantage of the price deadlines.

  • As captain, you are in charge of building your team and planning your team's lodging, transportation, and running strategy. You don't have to do this unaided, however, as we have gathered a wealth of information here to get you started. Become familiar with the content on this website and make sure your runners are well informed. 

  • Captains will also receive regular communication from Relay Iowa and should plan to communicate often with their team members.

  • Click here for some “Captaining” advice from one of our most seasoned veteran captains.


  • You are responsible for building your team. Your best resources are friends, family, and coworkers. If you are short on runners and have already registered as a captain, pay attention to the portal emails and snag some of the available free agents. You may also be able to recruit runners from local running clubs or by posting on our Relay Iowa Facebook page or in any of the other relay event facebook groups. Feel free to contact us if you need further recommendations on recruiting.


  • We will calculate your team’s overall pace using the times reported by runners during registration on Be sure all runners submit a realistic pace per mile, not their personal best.

  • The average team pace cannot be slower than about 10.5 minutes/mile as your team will not finish within the 60-hour time limit. Any level runner may participate as long as team pace stays below 10.5 minutes/mile.
  • You can log on to your registration and monitor your team signups, send emails and other cool captain-type activities.
  • However, Despite being the team captain, you are unable to view the pace your teammates signed up for on the Active site. There does not appear to be a way for us to change this. You will have to communicate with them to calculate your team pace ahead of time, otherwise you may not find out until we do our first calculation of start times a month or so before the relay. If you are concerned that your team pace is too slow, contact us and we can calculate your average pace for you ahead of time.

  • When we calculate your teams average pace, we are assuming an equal share of miles, although this is by no means a requirement. You may divide the miles however you see fit, as well as how many miles each person runs at a time.

  • We want you to plan this adventure beginning to end. You plan the order, the distance and you can change your plan mid-way if needed based on weather, injuries, or a team pace that is faster or slower than expected.

  • If during the event, you notice that your team starts to fall behind their goal pace, you may decrease the legs. Since most people can run 1 mile at a faster pace than they can 6 miles, this can drastically increase your team pace

  • Most importantly, it is not a race. Your focus should be on having fun!

Coordinating Vehicles and Transportation

  • Each team is required to bring vehicles to transport their team. Vans are often preferred for ease of maneuvering and comfort. Most teams opt for multiple vehicles so one group is free to rest, relax and recover while teammates in another vehicle are completing their legs of the relay. In some cases teams bring along non-running support people to help drive the vehicles. This is a fun way to include people who might not otherwise participate and spread out the driving responsibilities. Non-running support people do not need to register for the event.

  • It usually falls on the captain to coordinate the vehicles being used during the event to transport your team across the state. However, getting everyone to the start line before the relay and home again once it finishes in an efficient way requires detailed collaboration with your teammates. Many teams carpool from a central meeting point such as Des Moines, others fly into Sioux City and out of Dubuque. Some hitch a ride from members of other teams. There are many available options to keep in mind. If you are having trouble finding transportation, feel free to contact us or post on our Facebook page, as other runners may be travelling from a similar area that would be available to carpool.

  • Here is an example of how your vehicles can work together during the relay (but it is completely up to you!): At the starting point, runner 1 from van 1 will begin running. Van 1 will begin driving along the route, stopping at the predetermined distance to wait for runner 1. When runner 1 reaches the van, he or she will pass the GPS (each team will have a GPS device) to runner 2 who will then begin running. Runner 1 enters the van and they continue on the course to the desired end point for runner 2. This continues until all participants from van 1 have run and then the relay shifts to the participants in van 2. This rotation continues across the state at any interval you agree on.

  • The runners riding in the “resting” vehicle can relax, go to a nearby town to eat and get supplies, or find a place to grab a nap, or swim in one of the many lakes and pools along the route.

  • TIP: Plan to wait for the runner at turns or any place the route might be confusing. It is your responsibility to make sure your runner stays on course. Remember, when pulling off to the side of the road, vehicles must pull completely off the road and not impede traffic. Law enforcement officials can ticket you for blocking the roadway.
  • Plan ahead as there may be times, such as between towns and in the middle of the night, when no resources will be available. As captain, you are responsible for making sure your team is well equipped. Meet as a team prior to the event to discuss what items everyone will bring.


  • We work with hotels in Sioux City to offer discounted rooms for the night before the event. There are other hotels along the route. This is not to say hotels are necessary. Teams often choose to embrace the adventure by sleeping in tents, somewhere on the ground near our Checkpoints and Pit Stops and in cars. There is a large wrestling room in Independence where most teams sleep the second night but this is by no means required. Your team's lodging is entirely up to you. There are many parks along the route that are suitable for camping. Consult the Team Survival Guide for more information and a detailed list of hotels and parks.


  • While you and your team are not required to fundraise, there is a team fundraising competition for a trophy, as well as special shirts for reaching the first level of Club 339. We certainly hope you talk up your 339-mile adventure and encourage people to support you by donating to Relay Iowa. When you register you will have access to a shareable fundraising link or send them to our donation page and make sure they have your team name.

Supply List Ideas:

  • MANDATORY: Two reflective vests per team. One must be worn by runner dusk to dawn, but we encourage runners to wear one at all times.

  • MANDATORY: Two headlamps and two LED tail lights per team. One of each must be worn by runner dusk to dawn.

  • Food – Three meals are provided to runners over the weekend. You are responsible for all other food.

  • Water/Gatorade

  • Cooler

  • Cell phones and chargers

  • First Aid Kit including ice pack, blister treatment, bandages, pain relief

  • Cash & credit card

  • Clothes for layering. Be prepared for hot and cold weather.

  • Rain gear

  • Reflective tape/gear-anything to make you visible to drivers

  • Flashlights and fresh batteries

  • Pepper spray

  • Extra bag for dirty clothes

  • Towels

  • Toiletries

  • Camping supplies

  • BE SURE ALL TEAM MEMBERS AND DRIVERS HAVE READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE SURVIVAL GUIDE! We will provide your team two copies at check-in. Please print any additional copies needed so every vehicle has a copy.

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