The Zilker Relays is either the last big race of summer or the first major race of the fall racing season. Regardless of how you look at the Relays, there’s no better way to give summer the boot than with the annual meeting of the tribes on Friday night at the Zilker Relays on the evening of August 30th. For the 11th consecutive year the Zilker Relays will put a cap on summer with a four-person, 10-mile relay around Zilker Park.

But this relay is as much season-ending party as race. With the fantastic Mexican food buffet from Tacodeli (thank you!), beer from Hop’s n Grain and live music, the serious partying gets underway just as soon as your relay leg is completed.

The Zilker Kids’ Relay gets the festivities rolling at 6 p. m. along Stratford Road in Zilker Park for kids 9 and under. Their relay consists also consists of four-runner team, but the kids only go about 600 yards each.

The big kids relay starts at 6:30.

About 230-250 teams are expected to compete with the craziest team names imaginable. Each relay team consists of four runners who each complete a 2.48-mile leg around Zilker Park and along Barton Springs Road. The course is mostly flat with just one hill.

Founding race director Paul Perrone is once again stressing the importance of carpooling for this year’s race. “We’re always trying to think green,” said Perrone of The Genesis Agency. “We would really like it if each team gets together and just use one car to get to the race.”

Parking is always limited for the Zilker Relays, but there are two prime spots: At Barton Springs, just south of Barton Springs Road as well as at Austin HS on the north side of Lake Bird Lake.

The Zilker Relay model has proven so successful that Perrone is taking the race on the road. This fall, there will be Zilker Relays in Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

The field is limited to 250 teams and once the cap is reached, the race will close.

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