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Joining a Team

This is an extreme running event. The course is challenging. Runners should expect to encounter loose gravel, traffic, many types of weather and darkness. Please prepare mentally and physically for this strenuous yet rewarding experience. Here are some instructions and tips to get you ready for the big weekend!

Joining a Team

  • Teams will consist of up to 12 people

  • Each team will have a captain who will be the main contact. Your captain must be the first person to register on and set up the team. The captain will set up a team password, which you will need to be able to join the team. If you do not have the password, contact your captain.

  • If you need to find a team to join, enter your name into our Free Agent Portal, and we will notify captains for you.

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

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


    TIP: 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 around 10.5 minutes/mile.

  • How far you run at a time, in total, and in what order, is all up to you and your captain. Relay Iowa does not dictate order of runners nor distance. It is all up to you! 

  • Once registered, be sure to stay up-to-date by reading all email communications from Relay Iowa (make sure they don't end up in spam), staying in touch with your captain, and following us on social media such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

  • No fundraising is required to participate, but check out our Club 339 team fundraising competition. We encourage you to invite people to support you and your team by donating to Relay Iowa!

Training to Run an Ultramarathon

  • Even with a full team of 12 people, running 339 miles across Iowa averages out to 28.25 miles per person. While these miles do not need to be divided equally, significant training is likely required for you to tackle such an event.

  • Proper training is essential for each person’s success. Team members can encourage and support each other in training for this event by setting team training goals and training together when possible. Be sure to add some training for night running, running on rough surfaces, and running in the heat.

  • You can find a plethora of training ideas and programs online. There are also apps you can download to your phone to guide you to your goals.

  • If you have any health concerns, please consult a doctor before attempting this event.

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, starting in Sioux City and ending in Dubuque, an almost 5 hour drive away, requires significant planning from all team members to ensure everyone gets to the start line before the relay and home again once it finishes in an efficient way. 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.


  • 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 and your captain. There are many parks along the route that are suitable for camping. Consult the Team Survival Guide for more information.


Supply List Ideas:

  • Many of the supplies for the relay will be shared by your team. Meet as a team prior to the event to discuss what team supplies everyone will bring.

  • 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, multiple pairs of running shoes

  • 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 a copy at check-in. Please print any additional copies needed so every vehicle has a copy.

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