The Speed Project is an unsanctioned relay race on foot from Santa Monica to Las Vegas, spanning 340 miles.
There are no rules.
Day 1 - 4am
The race begins at exactly 4am at the Santa Monica Pier.
Roads that are typically empty are now congested with runners, RV’s, and other support vehicles.
Day 1 - 6:30am
Most of the team has not slept more than three hours the night prior due to last minute logistics and preparations.
Day 1 - 9:40am
The sun is fully up.
Our energy and spirits are extremely high, running on a mix of adrenaline, sport gels, coffee, and Red Bull.
We leapfrog with other teams while cheering each other on.
The first day’s strategy was to break each leg into segments of approximately 10 kilometers in distance.
Runners had a short amount of time to refuel and prepare in between segments.
Water guns, confetti, and other surprises were brought on the trip to keep the morale high.
Day 1 - 8pm
We reach our first evening.
All of the excitement and adrenaline from the day is now gone. Everyone is quiet.
We continue running into the night. There are no breaks.
Day 2 - 3:30am
Almost 24 hours have passed since the start of the race. It is cold and dark. Everybody is exhausted.
Cathy waits to begin her segment - a trail route where vehicles will not be able to follow, leaving her unsupported for the entire duration of her segment.
Day 2 - 6:40am
We make it through the night and experience the first dawn outside of the city.
Day 2 - 7am
Andrew finishes his trail segment. He intentionally brought no phone or headphones with him to enjoy a quiet run with the mountain views and morning light.
Day 2 - 8:10am
We run past an airplane boneyard where decommissioned airplanes are stored, scrapped, and salvaged for parts.
Several segments were not only unsupported by vehicles, but were in areas with zero cell service.
With the desert heat and numerous hills to climb, we shorten the runner’s segments to two to three miles at a time to allow for more time for recovery.
Henry battles a hill.
A week earlier, he had pulled his left Achilles tendon and could barely walk.
Although he was in pain, he struggled through it because he did not want to burden the rest of the team by shortening his segments or by dropping out entirely.
Day 2 - 6:50pm
Day 2 - 7:10pm
The sun dips below the horizon for the last time during this race.
By the time we see the sun again, we will have finished.
Day 2 - 8:05pm
The entire team is running on empty, but we are less than 40 miles from the finish.
The lights of the Vegas strip can be seen in the distance.
Day 3 - 12:15am
With Las Vegas in sight, Casey completes his final run and busts out the last two miles at a 5:44/mi pace.
Day 3 - 1:13am
The journey concludes with a light celebratory jog - all runners and crew together.
We finish the race in 45 hours and 13 minutes, just 4 minutes ahead of the next team.
We took 20th place out of 41 finishing teams.
Not too fast. Not too slow. Just right.