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Great American Relay Ends at the Santa Monica Pier

Published on October 12, 2020

The annual running event to raise money for the American Association for Cancer Research spans 15 states and ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

During the months of September and October, athletes from Massachusetts to California will be running over 3,000 miles in what organizers call The Great American Relay. The course is divided into 379 legs and participants can sign up to run anywhere from 5-22 miles, passing a baton off to the next runner in the relay. The entire race involves hundreds of runners from across the country raising money and awareness for the American Association for Cancer Research.

On the afternoon of October 21st, just after 2PM, lead runner Ashley McLeish will lead her team of runners in the culmination of the weeks-long relay carrying the baton under the famed Santa Monica Pier and Yacht Harbor sign.

Leading up to this event, running teams will have carried the baton from the east coast to the west in a spectacular show of unity in our beautiful country. The relay course starts in Boston and ends at the Pier in California. This is an in-person event, but runners can also participate virtually. This year’s event runs from Sept 15 to Oct 21, 2020, with runners passing the baton for 36 continuous days.

There are 3 types of runners who participate.  “Lead Runners” carry the baton and coordinate with the other runners in their stage to make sure things go smoothly.  People can also sign up as a “Support Runner” who travels with the lead in each stage. If you can’t be there in person you can sign up as a “Virtual Runner” for any stage.  All registered runners receive a medal.

The event raises money for The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) whose mission is ​to prevent and cure ALL cancers. They are the first and largest cancer research organization in the world with a membership of more than 47,000 professionals residing in 127 countries working on the front lines of the effort to eradicate cancer.

Learn more about the relay, sign up as a runner, or support the AACR with a donation at