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Continuous Relay

With plenty of team cheering, students run fast repeatedly, building strength and endurance

Tags: elementary school

Objectives Continuous Relay helps students improve their speed, endurance, and pacing skills as they work to get their baton around a relay course the fastest.
Standards National Standards for Physical Education (NASPE)
Standards 1,2,5,6
New York State Education Department (NYSED)
Standards 1,2
Time Required 20 minutes
Materials Loop course, one baton per team, cones or markers to designate handoff locations


Prepare for the Activity

  • Find a loop course and place cones on it to designate handoff locations.
    • The number of handoff locations depends on the number of runners.
    • There should be one more runner per team than there are handoff locations.
    • There should be at least three runners per team.
    • Depending on your students' fitness, you can make the handoff locations anywhere from 25 meters to 100 meters apart.
  • Watch the Continuous Relay to see how to conduct the game.


Events Play

Improves speed, endurance, and pacing skills.

Click here to access on Teacher Tube

Introduce the Activity

  • Tell your students the name of the game and its purpose. Say something like, “Today we’re going to run a relay where everyone will get to run more than once. The relay is about having fun and running fast, using everything you’ve learned about running form and pacing this year.”
  • Explain that students will be split into teams, and runners will be placed at each of the handoff locations. The first runner for each team will race to the first handoff point and hand off the baton to his or her teammate, who will race to the next handoff point, and so on. Tell them this: “Once you hand off, you wait there for the baton to come around again. The object is to race around the course and be the first team to have all teammates return to their starting positions.”
  • Tell the students to be sure to cheer on their teammates!

Conduct the Activity

  1. Split your students into two or more fairly matched teams.
  2. Place two runners from each team at the starting line, and designate which runner from each team will start. At the other handoff points, place one runner from each team.
  3. On your command, the first runners take off, running to the first handoff point. They hand off their batons to their teammate at that handoff point, and their teammate runs to the next handoff point while the first runner stays and rests until the baton comes around again. They continue in this fashion until each team has had all of their runners return to their original starting position.
  4. You can run several relays, as time permits.

Assess the Students

What to watch for:

  • Good general running form.
  • Running with a fast but even pace throughout the activity.
  • Strong effort.

Direction cues to share with students:

  • “Run steadily! Keep a good pace!”
  • Various form cues from your previous lessons as needed, such as:
    • “Swing those arms, bang those drums!”
    • “Land light on your feet, like you have feathers on your back!”
    • “Find your just right stride. No monster strides!”
    • “Run tall!”

Note: Only give a student one direction at a time.


  • After each race, make new teams so students can run with other friends.
  • As the runner tags a hand or hands off a baton they have to name their favorite fruit before the other student can start running.
  • Depending on grade level, have the students run shorter distances (50M) for the younger kids and longer distances (100M) for the older.
  • If you have students that aren't involved in a heat, have them do sit-ups, curl-ups, planks or another exercise while they wait for their turn.


When you've completed Continuous Relay, talk to your students about their experience with the activity. Here are some sample questions to get you started:

  • Was it hard to keep the same pace from your first turn to your last? If so, why do you think that was? What could you work on to do better? (pacing and/or endurance)
  • Does it help to have your teammates cheering you on?
  • When you're part of a team, does it make you want to run faster?
  • What do you have to do to run fast? How do you use your arms and legs when you're sprinting? (Take quicker steps, lift your knees more, pump your arms more)

Inclusion Strategies

Classrooms are filled with learners who demonstrate a variety of needs and abilities, including ESL students, those with disabilities, and gifted/talented students. Consider these adaptations as you work to modify the lesson for student success.

  • Have arrows, tape, or rope to designate where each team will go and where it will finish.
  • Give each team colored flags or shirts to designate who is on which team.
  • Allow students to walk through the activity multiple times.
  • Have students run with a partner, so they know where they are going to go.
  • If one student is a chair user, ask another student to be in a chair as well (if possible, have all the children in chairs).
  • Have students travel in different ways: walking, jogging, sprinting.
  • Have one big group relay competing for time, so the class isn’t divided.

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