Crossing of my list another thing I haven’t done before: participating in an official organised running event.
How I ended up as a member of a marathon relay is somewhat complicated: an ex-colleague of mine saw the Facebook ad of her ex-colleague who was looking to find a 6th teammate, and promptly she set us up. (The team had lost a member because due to the heavy rains and flooding the race had to be delayed.)
It was an interesting experience to run in a race. The proximity of other runners can both be a source motivation and desperation. When I had my turn (2nd leg) I was quite happy to see how many others I was easily able to take over during the first 1,5 km or so. Later on though this exhilaration induced starting speed took its toll when I tried to keep it up during the long and extremely hot riverside section. I ended up finding another contestant with a similar pace and followed her for the most part.
The refreshment tables were a pleasant change from my usual runs when I have to scour for sources of water constantly. (And Hungary is a lot less equipped with public wellsprings than Japan.) I particularly enjoyed the spray shower, albeit it lasted for only a fraction of a second if ran through.
Our team consisted of amateur runners and was aptly named Váltáska, a word play on the similar words for baton exchange and shoulder bag. Despite the scorching heat our cumulative time was just 7 seconds above 4 hours and 5 minutes. My leg lasted 37’16” according to the Nike+ chip, which proved to be perfectly precise: it announced the 7km mark just as I was handing the baton over.