Moon Racers Ready to Run Another GAP Relay Presented by UPMC Health Plan

Be warned: if you try out the GAP Relay presented by UPMC Health Plan, then you may just get hooked and have to run 150-miles of the Great Allegheny Passage year-after-year. Just ask the runners from team Moon Racers, who have run every event since 2018.

“The GAP Relay offers a really cool team relay racing challenge without the headaches of having to travel to other parts of the country to participate,” said Bob Pudlo, who is the team captain of the Moon Racers. “We run the event every year because it supports the beautiful GAP Trail, builds teamwork and camaraderie, provides a competition, and you get to make friends along the way. And who doesn’t love running in the dark with a headlamp?”

The Moon Racers are an 8-person team, primarily made of FedEx Ground employees. They have loved this race since its inception in 2018 and come back year-after-year to participate. To stay motivated during Pittsburgh’s hot and humid summer, many of the team members have other fall races on the calendar, so that they can combine training for the GAP Relay with other races including the Richard S. Caligiuri City of Pittsburgh Great Race, fall marathons, EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler, and other races.

Pudlo admits that the race has its challenges. For example, navigating the back country roads to the relay parking lots can be tricky, and running at night with just a headlamp isn’t for everyone. However, each year the team learns something new, and the fun and memories they make outweigh the challenges.

“It’s all about teamwork and leveraging the skill sets of each of the runners,” Pudlo said. “For example, some runners like hills, others don’t so plan run assignments accordingly. Some runners like long distances, others are sprinters that like the shorter distances. Some runners can read maps and navigate when Waze lets you down, others can’t. Some runners need sleep. Others don't, so they should be the driver.”

Pudlo recommends that first-time teams put together a spreadsheet with all of the runner legs, distance and expected paces. That way teams will be able to figure out when to get to the next leg and overall expected finish times. He also says it’s important to be safe and have a runner safety vest that is comfortable and lightweight, so you can be seen at night.

“One of my favorite memories from the event is when our runners/driver got our minivan stuck in the mud at a relay point parking lot,” Pudlo said. “We immediately found a good Samaritan who had tow ropes to pull us out. Can you say lucky?”

Do you have the grit and determination to run this year’s GAP Relay? Join the Moon Racers on this epic adventure on Oct. 14-15 and register today.