ChBE Runners Win 200-mile Dixie200 Relay


Katie Brown
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
(404) 385-2299 

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A team of twelve faculty and graduate students from the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering won the Dixie200 Relay, a 200-mile relay race from Atlanta, Ga., to Birmingham, Ala.

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On the afternoon of Saturday, March 23, Runaway Reaction, a team of twelve faculty and graduate students from the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering crossed the finish line of the Dixie200 Relay, sealing a first-place victory and beating fifteen other teams. A 200-mile relay race from Atlanta, Ga., to Birmingham, Ala., the Dixie200 Relay is split into thirty-six legs over two days, and team sizes range from four to twelve people.

After hearing about the race, Professor David Sholl suggested forming a team to a few faculty members, and once a core team of six was formed, Professor Victor Breedveld says they looked for “some graduate students to prop up the average pace.”

Going into the race, Breedveld, who also served as team captain, says they expected to finish within the top third of all teams based on the times submitted for predicted pace. “We ended up running two hours and twenty minutes faster than my prediction, which was admittedly a bit conservative,” he says. “Nevertheless, I did not expect us to beat my prediction by more than an hour.”

As Team Runaway Reaction neared the final legs, they had endured a five-hour rain delay due to a thunderstorm and were trailing by four minutes. However, the last three runners—graduate student Lester Li, Breedveld, and Professor Michael Filler—pulled out a win for the team.

Finishing with a time of 30 hours, 7 minutes, and 58 seconds, the team crossed the finish line 10 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher. While the relay began as a fun activity amongst a few faculty members, it provided the faculty and graduate students with an opportunity to know one another outside of the classroom or research lab.

“During an event like this, any boundaries fade, and you’re simply teammates,” Breedveld says. “I think the graduate students were able to see the professors ‘unplugged’ with all their individual quirks. I had set up the leg assignments so that everyone on the team would interact with everyone else, and that made for a great sense of teamwork.”

Graduate student Li agrees, saying, “I think we all really grew on each other. That ‘barrier’ of sorts between faculty and graduate students quickly dissolved, and everyone was very supportive of one another. We were all sharing equipment, giving helpful tips, and cracking jokes by the end.”

For team Runaway Reaction, the Dixie200 was challenging—both physically and logistically—but when it’s time to begin preparing for next year’s relay, there’s a chance ChBE will be sending another team to compete. “As with all somewhat crazy events, I now say, “Maybe, not necessarily,” Breedveld says. “Half a year from now, when the memories of hard work and suffering subside a bit, our decision could easily change.”

Team Runaway Reaction comprised seven ChBE faculty members—Victor Breedveld, David Sholl, Pete Ludovice, Michael Filler, Julie Champion, Mark Styczynski, and Krista Walton—and five graduate students—Lester Li, Saujan Sivaram, Brian Kraftschik, Brian Setzler, Sylvia Sullivan.

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  • Created By: Katie Brown
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Apr 2, 2013 - 6:14am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:13pm