Putting on miles

The start/finish line and staging area for runners in the first 26-mile Co-Ed Relay Race will be at the Churchill County High School track on Aug. 15.

The start/finish line and staging area for runners in the first 26-mile Co-Ed Relay Race will be at the Churchill County High School track on Aug. 15.

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rivals rarely join forces, let alone combine their fundraising efforts.

Nevertheless, the Fallon and Fernley cross-country teams will be the beneficiary of the newest road race in Churchill County.

The brainchild of Greenwave cross-country coach Tommy Thomson, next Saturday will feature a new type of running event in Fallon, a 26-mile co-ed relay race.

The race begins Aug. 15 at 10 a.m., with registration at 9 a.m., at the Churchill County High School track. The race is open to all runners.

“I’ve been thinking about doing something with Fernley … a fun thing and at the same with a little bit of competition,” Thomson said.

The concept, Thomson said, had perhaps lofty expectations as the second-year coach opted to allow up to 23 runners per team, with the first and last legs running two miles each and every other runner taking one mile.

While teams can use 23 runners, Thomson and former coach Mitch Overlie, who has assisted in organizing the event, too, figured it would be tough for teams to gather 23 individuals. Teams can carry any number of runners with a maximum of 12 men.

“We’re hoping to get enough adults to go against the two cross-country teams,” Thomson said.

Like many first-time events, though, the relay’s schedule ran into another event as the annual Dust Devil Sprint Triathlon is also Aug. 15, but starts at 8 a.m.

Fernley coach Todd Wright, meanwhile, said the event is a good start to kick off the season.

“It will be our first kind of official practice,” Wright said. “The kids are excited about it since it’s a little different. I have been trying to get a team of Fernley adult runners.”

As for the course, Thomson and Overlie met with Churchill County Parks and Recreation Supervisor Danny Gleich, who provided a map outlining the course.

Thomson, however, didn’t realize the hoops he had to jump through to get the race off the ground. He had to clear the race with Churchill County Sheriff’s Department, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Highway Patrol since the race is on public roads.

“I didn’t realize what I had to go through when we started this,” Thomson said.

Once Thomson got the all clear, he and Overlie marked the course to aid runners and mark the exchange zones (every mile) where runners will pass the baton.

Since the exchange zones are plentiful, Thomson said he hopes to secure vans to drop off and pick up runners at each zone.

The race was put together in a short time as each team preps for the 2015 season. A last-minute rush of advertising by Thomson and both teams aims to draw a decent gathering for the newly minted event.

Currently, the Fallon and Fernley high school teams recruited several members of the Clockwork Running Club for the event.

Thomson said the event may rotate between Fallon and Fernley each year, but those options will be hashed out over time.

“He (Wright) and I have been talking about different ways to do a fundraiser,” Thomson said. “We are trying to bring the communities together, and secondly, raise money for both cross-country programs. We had to be creative with raising money.”

The race begins at the high school track and filters out to the running trail just south of the school. From there, the athletes will run west to Allen Road and turn left for the longest straightaway of the race at four miles until they reach Lone Tree Road.

The race heads west on Lone Tree to Solias and navigating up through St. Clair Road, Strasdin Lane and Bottom and Alcorn roads before hitting the Reno Highway for a small stretch.

Runners will make their way back through the county roads and conclude the race at the track, where the winners will receive a trophy.

“The kids like doing relays,” Wright added. “It’s a fun activity to start us off. I’m looking at it as more to have fun and bond as a team.”

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