Two teams.  Two rivalries.  Two groups of friends.  One high school.  One marathon relay.  Who will be victorious in this year’s event?

It’s going to be a battle between the classes—a fun relay rivalry between the 1975 and 1976 graduating classes of Allen Park High School.

The man leading this rivalry is Allen Park, Mich., native Fred Vanhala, who will tell you that running is a part of who he is.  An accomplished high school runner and then coach, Vanhala counts 50 years that he’s been involved with competitive running.

He’s also no stranger to the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon.  Vanhala said he would often come to the event to cheer on former teammates and friends from the running community.   He was also involved with the 24th and 25th running of the marathon, volunteering as director of marketing for the relay teams.

Last year, Vanhala began reminiscing about the good ol’ running days with his high school cross country and track buddies.  He thought it might be fun to create a marathon relay team with classmates from his graduating class, the class of 1975.  He rounded up five runners and encouraged a group from the class of 1976 to do the same.

He said he thought it would be a great way to have fun and strike up some old high school class rivalry.  However, final plans didn’t line up for the class of 1975 team last year, and they didn’t compete.  Vanhala suggested the class of the 1976 team should still compete to prepare for a future matchup in 2019.

This year, both relay teams are ready to go head-to-head.

When October rolls around, two groups of runners–all over the age of 60–will take on the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon Relay. 

The class of 1975 team, comprised of Fred Vanhala (marathon relay captain), Mike Liening, Al Kresslein, Dan Zolkowski and Dani Rairigh-Schettig, will compete in the mixed masters race.  The class of 1976, made up of Steve Miles (marathon relay captain), Dean De Angelis, Randy Mrock, Joe Purcell and Stephen Bishop, will compete in the men’s masters race.

The question is now…what class is going to win?

Like this idea, and want to be part of the Marathon Relay action?  You still have time to round up some of your best runner friends from high school and create a relay team.  Get some rivalry going with friends and runners from another graduating class and bring back some great high school memories. 

The Marathon Relay is a race that consists of two to five team members running various distances that cover the entire 26.2 marathon course.  The event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, at 7:00 a.m. For more information on the Marathon Relay, click here.

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