42nd Annual Big Bay Relay Interview with Race Director Brent Skaw – May 19th

Filed under: The 8th Day |
Big Bay Relay from Marquette to Big Bay May 19th along County Road 550 (credit - NTN Facebook by permission)

Big Bay Relay from Marquette to Big Bay May 19th along County Road 550 (credit – NTN Facebook by permission)

Big Bay, Michigan – The 42nd annual Big Bay Relay brings out all kinds of racers.  Brent Skaw, the race director for the May 19th Race, spoke with Todd Pazz about the diversity of participants including seniors, Junior Big Bay Relay Teams (7 Person Teams – All team members 17 or younger), Corporate Sponsored Teams, and élite runners. Every team seeks a win, even if for some a “win” is just participating to support the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) cause or just crossing the finish line.  Of course, élite runners can win official prizes.

The adult relay teams consists of 5 person teams starting at 8 a.m. from the Kaufman Sports Complex (846 Hawley Street Marquette) and ending Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay, Michigan, covering about 26 miles. The last teams are expected to pass over the finish line in Big Bay about 1 p.m.

According to the Noquemanon Trail Network website, “Runners run approximately 1 mile each before handing the baton to a teammate and resting until it is their turn again. While one person is running, the rest of your teammates are on support duty in your race vehicle.  As each runner begins, the crew in the vehicle drives ahead and meets them at the exchange point to pick them up and drop off the next runner.”  Eventually all 5 team members will have run 5 miles of the race, with 4 mile stretches when they can take a breather while cheering on the current baton runner.

Each year County Road 550 fills with supporters and participants from morning into early afternoon.  Staggering the start of those with differing skills allows participants of various capabilities to arrive at nearly the same time at the finish line.  This year “registration is up over 25%,” said Brent Skaw, who is also president of the Skijoring club at the NTN.  Skijoring is a winter sport “where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle”(Wikipedia). There was even one non-winter version participant in the Big Bay Relay race.

According to Skaw, the Marquette trails are unique and served as one the big reasons he moved to the area. With hundreds of miles of trails of every terrain from beaches, to hills, to woods, there is really something for everybody.

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