The event pits undergraduate class and alumni teams against one another in a 26-mile race, each vying for immortality via an inscription on the Hudson Relay rock that sits outside Adelbert Hall.
On the Run
A 100-year-old tradition celebrates Case Western Reserve University's history
When the first runners took to the trails for the inaugural Hudson Relays, there was no Facebook, no Twitter and certainly no text messaging—unless you count Morse code. In fact, students and alumni have been pounding the pavement at the annual race since before there was much pavement to pound.
The tradition that commemorates Western Reserve College's move from Hudson, Ohio, to University Circle in 1882 celebrated its 100th birthday in 2010. The event pits undergraduate class and alumni teams against one another in a 26-mile race, each vying for immortality via an inscription on the Hudson Relay rock that sits outside Adelbert Hall.
Adelbert College student Monroe Curtis dreamed up the competition and organized the first race in 1910. An illness sidelined him on race day, but he gave his name to the Curtis cup—awarded each year to the winning team, along with the coveted inscription.
Racers made the annual cross-country trek on the open roads from Hudson to Cleveland until 1990, when administrators changed the race format to a five-lap course around University Circle. The move eased the race-day traffic burden on the towns along the old route and made it a lot harder for runners to cut corners—like the class of 1913 team that was disqualified for trying to finish the race by car.
A steak dinner and champagne toast goes to repeat victors who manage four consecutive wins. The grand prize has gone to the classes of 1982, 1990, 1994 and 2006. With its third consecutive victory in the 2010 centennial race, the class of 2011 is just one win shy of being added to that list.