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Running a relay race is not always easy to do. Relay teams are usually made up of the best athletes on the team, and as such, are very selective. There is also an aspect to the relay race that is not involved in the other races: the baton. Running with a baton, and passing a baton, are both things that a runner usually does not have to think about while running a race.
In a relay, you must ensure that you always maintain possession of the baton, and when it comes time to pass it, you must make it gets to the other runner without dropping it. Dropping the baton can cause a team to slow down, or in some cases, be disqualified.