From the founders of Blue Ridge Relay (BRR), an FiA favorite held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, comes the TOBACCO ROAD RELAY (TRR). It's a single-day, 6-teammate relay from Chapel Hill to Durham to Raleigh, North Carolina - commonly known as The Triangle.
MudGear's FiA "Bootleg" spoke with organizer, Ken Sevensky, about BRR, TRR, and how FiA can save at registration.
BL: How long have you been organizing races; when did you get involved with BRR?
KS: We actually started working on it in 2002, and it took us 2 or 3 years to get it all together. So, we officially ran the first Blue Ridge Relay in 2005.
BL: BRR has a cult-like following within FiA. What can participants in the Tobacco Road Relay expect that’s different from BRR?
KS: Well, BRR is mainly held on rural backroads. With Tobacco Road, we really want to embrace some residential areas while still staying off the main roads and, at the same time, highlighting the beauty of The Triangle… and I think we accomplished it with this course!
BL: Was the catalyst for Tobacco Road Relay a desire to capture the BRR spirit for the same devoted community… just in a different setting?
KS: You know… this is such a unique region with 4 powerhouse schools - NC State, Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest - in such a tiny area. The thought and vision for years has been how cool it would be to create this friendly but competitive rivalry race between school alumni and fans. Think how rare it is to get to compete and represent your school, maybe even in your school colors.
So, that idea still remains the same; but at the same time, we realized what a great opportunity this is for friends to run together and see some beautiful, but maybe unfamiliar views of The Triangle, whether you’re a fan of a Tobacco Road school or not.
BL: I went to NC State. So, for someone like me, that sounds like so much fun and a great way to support the area.
KS: Exactly. Just like with Blue Ridge Relay, the Tobacco Road Relay is an opportunity for participating teams to raise funds for area groups and causes. In fact, that’s often where the competition is. A team from NC State will often challenge another team from Carolina to see who can raise the most money for an area hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, or some community group in The Triangle. We’ve seen it for years with BRR, and I look forward to seeing the good that can be done for the community through TRR.
BL: Since this is Tobacco Road Relay’s inaugural year, you don’t know what to expect or exactly how much manpower you’ll need for support. So, how are you managing those unknowns?
KS: Yeah, we’re capping this first year to 150 teams. That is still very ambitious for a first year race, but we know we can support that many participants and manage all of the logistics well - without being overwhelmed. Everyone will have plenty of room to run even if we hit 150 teams; but we’re going to have a blast regardless of how many show up for this first year.
BL: Well, I know that FiA are excited to add this relay to the race calendar. At the same time, it’s cool that it doesn’t hijack the entire weekend.
KS: That’s right. A lot of similar races require pulling together 12-member teams who compete over a couple of days. Those are a lot of schedules that have to line up perfectly. With TRR, we’re a 1-day race for teams of 6. So, it’s a lot easier to manage, and most participants will get to sleep in their own beds that night.
BL: That’s awesome for FiA with families.
KS: That’s right. We definitely want FiA to come out in full force, and we’re going to help knock a chunk off of your registration fee. There are two different ways to save.
First, all FIA teams can use COUPON CODE FIA90 TO GET $90 OFF of your team registration.
The second incentive is for teams who are also planning on running this year’s Blue Ridge Relay. If you’ve already registered, you should have received an email with $180 off your Tobacco Road Relay team registration. If you haven’t registered for BRR yet, go ahead and do that, and we’ll send you the TRR $180 coupon code.
BL: That’s great! So, registration for both events is available now.
KS: That’s right, but REGISTRATION FOR TOBACCO ROAD RELAY CLOSES ON APRIL 3RD in order for us to get the t-shirts ordered and make all of the other necessary arrangements. So, everyone needs to rally the troops and get your team registered soon.