There’s no better way to give summer the boot and usher in the fall racing season than with the annual meeting of the tribes this Friday night at the Zilker Relays. For the 13th year, the Zilker Relays will put a capper on the summer with a four-person, 10-mile relay around beautiful Zilker Park.

But this relay is as much summer-ending/fall-greeting party as race. With the fantastic Mexican food buffet from Tacodeli, beer from Hop’s n Grain and live music from the Space Rockers (beginning at 7:45), the serious partying gets underway just as soon as your relay leg is completed.

The Kids’ Relay gets the festivities rolling at 6 p.m. along Stratford Road in Zilker Park with the big kids relay starting at 6:30.

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, which starts and finishes on the north side of Zilker Park (right near the volleyball courts) is mostly flat with just one hill.

Race director Paul Perrone is stressing 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 got 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. There are also bike racks for those who wish to cycle over.

Packet pick up and registration for the relay will be at Pure Austin (downtown location only at 907 W. 5th Street, across from Whole Foods) from 1:00-6:30 PM on Thursday (September 10). Only one member of each team is required to pick up the race packet. There will be packet pick at the race site on Friday, beginning at 4:30 and ending at 6:00.

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