Longest relay run in the U.S. ends in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Longest relay run in the U.S. ends in Dubuque

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The longest relay run in the United States ended Sunday in Dubuque. Relay Iowa began in Sioux City on Friday and traveled all the way east to Dubuque. The longest relay run in the United States ended Sunday in Dubuque. Relay Iowa began in Sioux City on Friday and traveled all the way east to Dubuque.
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The longest relay run in the United States ended Sunday in Dubuque.

Relay Iowa began in Sioux City on Friday and traveled all the way east to Dubuque.

The three-day race covered a staggering 336 miles across the state of Iowa, making it the longest relay run in the United States.

Karena Steir is a photographer with Relay Iowa. She says the run is unique in that most relays cover Iowa from north to south.

"Relay Iowa started when my boss, actually from Midwest Professionals Staffing, came home from a mission trip in Africa," Steir said. "He was very inspired to do something to raise funds for their orphanage.

"So we sat around and talked about it and he thought, you know, we could run across Iowa, that sounds awesome," Steir added. "We thought north to south, but that is the same size as all the other relay runs. So we thought if we start west to east, it will be the longest relay run in the U.S."

This is the fourth year for Relay Iowa. In the event's first year, only four teams participated.

This weekend, the relay had 18 teams. From those 18 teams were 193 different runners. The teams allowed the runners to take turns running.

It was Jason Willits' first time running in Relay Iowa. The Quad Cities native was used to running marathons, but wanted to challenge himself further.

"I have ran a marathon before, but I never ran a relay where you have to take a lot of breaks," Willits said. "Run a little bit, take a break, over a 48-hour period. It was a different challenge.

"It felt really good at first, but as the weekend went along my legs started to stiffen up," he added. "But we have a great group of people with us to help keep us motivated."

Willits was able to take turns with different runners on his team during the 336-mile run.

"It felt good that 36 hours into a race, or 40 hours into a race, I could still get out there and put out two miles or three miles at a time," Willits said.

This year, the event raised $15,000 for Restoring Hope International, an orphanage in South Africa which provides care and shelter to South African children orphaned by AIDS.

After the race, many who took part in the race had a conversation on Skype with children at the orphanage.

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