In the last week or so before race day, race organizers decided to stagger the starts in 15-minute intervals, sending off first those teams who expected to need the most time on the course and saving the faster teams for later. The thinking was to try and get everyone to arrive -- 64.5 miles later -- at the terminus, McCloud Nature Park, at about the same time.
So I was able to photograph all the starts, and in the process, got to witness the beautiful sunlight transition, from dawn to sunrise to early morning, at Sodalis. It made for a memorable experience.
Sodalis formally opened only about a month before last year's inaugural Park2Park Relay. I made my first visit to the park June 3, 2011, about three weeks before the start of the first race. I spent that day driving as much of the full course as I could find and access so I knew what I and fellow photographers from the Indy Meetup Photo Club would be up against ... and to hopefully get ideas on where to assign photographers on race day. I also took some photographs along the way.
Today's post features pictures from the various starts on Saturday ... and from the very short loop that runners take on an asphalt trail in the open area of Sodalis. The loop begins right off the start line, before runners proceed across an earthen dam then enter the park's wooded area to complete the first of 18 legs of the race.
Above: "Old Guy" Kuhne and the rest of "5 More Muffin Men ... and an Old Guy" head out for the ceremonial loop, after which the team's first-leg runner -- Levi Lewis, who leads the pack -- would continue on the course.
Above: Several teams are represented on the start line here.
Above: Horner (left) and McManus, the last two runners to start at Sodalis, also were the last two to circle the "parade" loop and head into the wooded area of Leg 1.