MarbleLympics 2019: Event #6 – Relay Run

The Relay Run isn’t just a test of speed; it’s also a test of finesse. Having clean, quick handoffs is just as important as attaining high velocity. In fact, sometimes attaining too high a velocity can cause the next marble in the relay to ricochet wildly after a handoff, slamming into the walls of the lane.

So it’s not too shocking that fortunes change rapidly on the relay track. Nonetheless, how exactly this event unfolded provided plenty of drama for marble sports fans all across the globe. The first heat showed just what kind of contest we were in for, with Balls of Chaos taking an early lead and the Green Ducks dropping all the way back into fourth. But then the verdant birds had a top-notch final handoff that rocketed them into second, just behind Team Galactic, whereas Balls of Chaos dropped all the way back into last place.

In the second heat, the Savage Speeders, as expected, got off to an early lead. However, a screw-up on the final handoff let Thunderbolts and O’Rangers sneak by into the first and second spots, respectively.

The anchor leg didn’t prove to be as important for the other two heats, the first of which saw the Midnight Wisps get disqualified for knocking over a starting block., and the second of which featured one of the worst handoffs in MarbleLympics history from the Chocolatiers.

But the semis brought back the excitement in a big way. In Semi Final A, the Green Ducks blasted to an early lead, which they kept. But the race for second place came down to a photo finish, with the O’rangers and the Pinkies tying down to the millisecond! However, a tiebreaker race proved to be the Pinkies’ undoing; they finished almost a second behind the O’rangers.

Semi Final B also featured some tension, with a false start causing the Raspberry Racers not to budge from their starting position. But after re-racking the marbles, the competitors were off to the races again, and this time, the Raspberry Racers and the Thunderbolts took the coveted first two spots.

And then, it was time for the final. The Green Ducks, O’rangers, Raspberry Racers, and Thunderbolts started out neck and neck, but by the second leg, they had stratified into two pairs, with the Green Ducks and O’rangers far out ahead. The O’rangers were on the verge of pulling into an insurmountable lead, but then it came down to that key anchor leg: the Green Ducks managed to pick up the pace and finish the relay just a bit ahead of their citrus rivals. The Raspberry Racers earned a well-deserved bronze.

Stray thoughts:

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo finish that resulted in a tiebreaker at the MarbleLympics before. This is a once-in-a-YouTube event!
  • The Savage Speeders’ fortunes are dropping rapidly, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to climb up the rankings.
  • The Oceanics are completely asleep at the wheel. They’ve moved into last place.
  • The Raspberry Racers actually scored the fastest time of the whole event in their initial heat, at 8.588 seconds. Too bad they couldn’t keep up the pace in the final.
  • This is one of my favourite MarbleLympics events, because you can never tell what’s going to happen next.
  • And with their third medal, the Green Ducks advance into the top spot in the rankings. Quack quack!

Complete stats for the 2019 MarbleLympics can be found at the MarbleLympics Wiki.