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Safety and Rules

Relay Iowa has always been known for its relaxed atmosphere. We want you to let loose, have fun, and make this adventure your own, but the safety of our participants, volunteers and the general public is our top priority! This section contains important information that should enhance your safety and enjoyment of the relay.

General Safety

  • Runners must run facing traffic, preferably on the shoulder, or on the edge of the pavement where it is safe to do so.

  • Runners are encouraged to wear a reflective vest at all times.

  • A reflective vest, headlight and LED taillight must be worn from dusk until dawn.

  • Do not assume motorists can see you or will yield the right of way, even if you have the right of way.

  • This is not a race; always use your best safe-running judgment.

  • Review your course leg in advance, making note of any turns or potential high-traffic volume or road intersection situations.

  • Teams are responsible for making sure runners stay on the course.

  • There will be signs along the route directing vans and runners, but due to potential vandalism, please don’t rely solely on signs to make decisions.

  • Use the maps provided in the Team Survival Guide (updated and released just prior to the event), or if you have any questions, contact a relay official.

  • This is a 339-mile road run. Expect the unexpected.

  • Monitor the ground/pavement ahead of you for potential safety hazards. There could be loose gravel, potholes, glass, nails, farm tools, wire, and dead animals in your path.

  • It is recommended that runners carry a cell phone or other device (e.g. walkie-talkie) to communicate with their team or relay officials.

  • Maintain proper hydration as dehydration is a primary cause of hospitalization in an adventure relay.

  • Be certain you are drinking enough liquids, avoiding drinks containing caffeine and alcohol which cause fluid loss.

  • No aid stations are guaranteed, though relay officials will attempt to provide water at checkpoints.

  • Relay officials will have some basic first aid equipment, but there are no dedicated medical personnel.

  • Teams are encouraged to bring their own first aid supplies.

  • For emergencies, 911 is the best option.

  • Be certain you are in good physical condition.

  • It is recommended you review your plans with your doctor.

  • If you are not feeling well, stop and seek first aid or medical attention as needed.

  • Please do not use earbuds or headphones while running. It is important to be able to hear what is happening around you on the road.


Night Running Safety

  • This is a non-stop relay over the course of two nights. Make sure runners are as visible as possible.

  • Every runner must have a flashlight/headlamp, reflective vest and LED taillight from dusk to dawn.

  • To help runners through the night, team vehicles are allowed to “shadow” them. Shadowing is when you park along the road and watch the runner until they are out of sight, then move ahead of them where they are barely seen and wait for them to pass.

  • Obey all traffic laws, pull completely off the road and do not impede traffic.

  • Nighttime runners may run with a pacer, however, the pacer's miles would not count towards the total. Instead, running alongside another team's runner is encouraged.


Vehicle Safety

Team support vehicles should stop somewhere along each leg to watch for their runner, especially where the route might be confusing.

  • When parked, turn off your headlights to prevent blinding oncoming traffic.

  • Leave your parking lights on so others can see you.

  • Do not stop or slow down in places that will impede traffic or runners and turn on your hazard lights.

  • It is not permitted for support vehicles to follow behind runners at the runner’s pace.

  • Vehicles must pull off the road while waiting for runners.

  • All tires must be off the road. You may not just pull over slightly.

  • The local, county and state police will ticket you if not safely and fully off the road.

  • We recommend using side streets, parking lots, farm field entrances, etc.; though you must determine if you can do so safely while respecting property owners and other drivers on the road.



Please be considerate of those who live along the route and may be sleeping. Keep noise levels down when you are in a neighborhood or near a home. You should not be cheering loudly, ringing cowbells, etc., between 9:00pm-7:00am.


The relay will occur rain or shine. Under certain severe weather conditions where significant damage or alterations to the relay course occur, we reserve the right to cancel the event. There will be no refunds given if the relay is canceled due to weather. If there is lightning at the start of the relay we reserve the right to delay starts until the lightning clears. If you see lightning on the course after the relay has started, get your runner off the road and into the support vehicle or other shelter. When the weather has passed, return your runner to the course close to where you would be if you had stayed on pace. Each individual is responsible for determining if it is safe to run in the conditions presented. Do not wait for a relay official to suspend the relay due to severe weather conditions—seek shelter as necessary.


Keep It Clean

This is a family-friendly event. Nudity and obscenity are not allowed. Please refrain from inappropriate actions and attire. Costumes, yes! Streaking, nope!



Runners must wear a reflective vest, headlight and LED taillight from dusk to dawn. Failure to do so may result in disqualification of your team. Failure to act in a safe manner may result in disqualification. Individuals are responsible for their own safety and are required to report any unsafe situations or behaviors to relay officials. Relay officials and course volunteers have the authority to disqualify a team for serious violations of relay rules or laws.

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