The Del Sol Ragnar Relay was to be a fun run through red rock cliffs, Ponderosa pines and saguaro cactus for the 12 members of the Payson Mile High Running Club.
But the event turned into a gut-wrenching tragedy when Brophy High School senior Robert Mayasich, 18, was struck Feb. 27 by a car on the Carefree Highway outside Morristown.
The teen was air evacuated to a Phoenix hospital, but died March 2 from his injuries.
Carrie Colvin, a member of Mile High, remembers the chaos of the accident scene.
“It was chaos. People were running around trying to get more information, figure out exactly what happened,” she said. “There were literally just hundreds and hundreds of people wandering around.”
Due to the tragedy, several legs of the race were cut from the event.
The 24-hour relay kicked off Feb. 26 near Prescott and continued for 200-plus miles to Tempe.
Each team was composed of 12 runners who ran three legs each, ranging between three and eight miles.
To get from one exchange to the next, each team was allowed two support vehicles to ferry runners to their legs.
The leap-frogging continued from the start point near Watson Lake east of Prescott to the finish at Tempe Marketplace.
The Payson team’s appearance in the relay marked the third consecutive year the Rim Country has been represented.