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The Torch-Relay-Challenge is a collaborative writing challenge. It consists of several consecutive one hour word sprints done by different wrimos, each writing on their own NaNo novel. It is usually done as a joint activity of cabins or regions.


The Torch-Relay-Challenge was first created during the Camp NaNo 2020. Since svenja, one of the participants from the first cabin-based torch-relay-challenge, was the ML of Region/Europe/Germany she deciced to repeat this challenge during November on the weekend 11/07-11/08. The ML of Region/Canada/ON/Ottawa independently organized a variant of this challenge which lasted from 11/01 until 11/07 -- but was later on extended 11/08.

By popular request of members of the Europe::Germany region to do this challenge as a friendly competition against another region, ML svenja posted an invitation to this challenge in the writing challenges forum and Region/Europe/Austria, Region/Europe/Poland, Willamette Valley Region joined in as well. Canada::Ottawa extended their challenge over the weekend as well.


(as posted by svenja)

Cabin/Region members pass the torch/pen by writing in one hour “legs” continuously.

  • Try to carry the torch for a whole day. Can you do 12 hours? Can you make it to 20? Or can you keep going for a whole 24-hour-period?
  • A person can do multiple legs, including consecutive ones.
  • Each person must write for a full hour (bathroom breaks only) and must actually pass off to the next person who is ready to go and write for the next hour. Find your own ritualistic phrase for the passing. Use the fire emoji. Or find a picture of a torch to post with every passing…
  • The writers passing the torch must both post within five minutes of each other and within five minutes of the full hour or the torch will be considered dropped.
  • If the “torch” gets dropped, that ends your marathon. If the torch cannot be passed the person who was writing can decide to write for another full hour (no passing off in the middle of the hour).
  • If you drop your torch early on, the cabin is allowed start over – but of course that means none of the hours you had before the torch dropped will count.
  • Post your results for total hours AND total words written during those hours.

Note, when planning your relay, it is OK to have backup people, pinch hitters, etc., planned in and standing by. The challenge is to successfully carry the torch of writing as far as you can, not to stick to your original schedule.


Many regions used spreadsheets, e.g. on Google docs, to plan in advance who takes over which time slots. Regional forum threads or cabin chat are used to document the passing of the torch/baton.


  • Flexible instead of fixed length legs are an option. Canada::Ottawa used this in their variant.
  • A precursor variant exists in this Word crawl/Camp Crawl, where the legs are three-digit-challenges instead of time based challenges.
  • Since graveyard slots (i.e. 3-4 am, 4-5 am and 5-6 am slots) are often hard to fill and very unpopular, two regions in very different timezones teaming up for this challenge might be an option.