Market to Market returns for fifth Iowa relay

Starting in the dawn’s early light ~GCNO file photo

The fifth annual Market to Market Relay will put a block party on Jefferson’s courthouse square Saturday morning, but only early-rising residents will see any of the fun.  By 10 am, there will be nothing left.

More than 2,500 runners  will compete on 350 teams in the 75-mile-long relay race on the Raccoon River Valley Trail’s original “south loop” and then on other trails to the East Village in downtown Des Moines.

2016 photo by Clay Ross

The runners start from the courthouse square in Jefferson and run east on Lincoln Way to the RRVT trailhead at the Milwaukee depot. The first start time is 5:45 am, with waves of runners starting every 30 minutes until 9:15 am.

The race is a true relay. Most runners will be at the start, but as soon as the first runner of the team starts running, the rest of the team gets in vehicles and leaves for the first exchange zone, Bullhead Farm south of 250th St in Grant Township. The second exchange zone is in Cooper.

High energy and creative costuming comprise most of the starting gate fun, along with pink gorilla that blasts each start on a trombone.

Market to Market Iowa is a production of Pink Gorilla Events.

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