The Gorgeous Relay is officially back with permits, port-a-potties (fingers crossed) and 58 miles of Oregon scenery. Race Directors, Kerry Loehr and Blair Hook organized the inaugural event last year and limited the number of entries, since we technically were just a bunch of runners meeting for an unofficial long run. This year will have much of the same course, although a little shorter, and it’s technically the first year of The Gorgeous Relay. The first year of the official Gorgeous Relay, that is.
Now 80 teams can run the course with support from ODOT. Still a pretty limited registration, compared to most events, but they want to keep the course safe and smaller than other relays. There will be a few changes with exchange points to accommodate additional teams, but runners will follow most of the original course. We’ll start in Wyeth, just East of the Cascade Locks, run along the Historic Columbia River Highway, through Troutdale, along the Fairview-Gresham Trail, to the Springwater Trail, cross the Sellwood Bridge and finish at Willamette Park.
My two person relay is back, thanks to my teammate. She registered our team, We Run, as soon as it opened. Yes, this relay really is THAT fun. Register teams from ‘Hard Core’ with a solo runner, ‘Dynamic Duo’ with a pair, ‘Extra Credit’ teams of 3-4 or ‘Standard’ vans of 5-6 runners. Starting at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and running to Portland, this is a unique event with the views, the runners it attracts and getting to sleep in your own bed . Since this is a one day event, you don’t have to deal with lodging or trying to sleep in a field with vans shuffling in and out. I love the overnight relays too, and maybe I’m just getting too old, but I don’t bounce back from the weekend relays like I once did. Maybe it’s that I have three boys and a job still waiting for me Monday morning, or that I’ve just realized I’m cranky without enough sleep, either way, this event is a great compromise. I get to run a relay, sleep in my own bed and still show up for work on Monday bright eyed, bushy-tailed and full of fun stories. What’s not to love?
As luck would have it, the unofficial inaugural run fell on the same day as some serious storm warnings with high winds and heavy rain. I think I had one dry leg last year and, honestly, looking back I wouldn’t have it any other way. The non-stop rain and wind gusts didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of runners along the course, it’s all part of the memories. I can’t wait for new memories. I’m hoping we’ll get some heat this year, instead of the liquid sunshine. Last year I had to pack SIX pairs of running shoes, since each leg they were soaked through. I’m hoping to cut that number down this year. Rain or shine, I can’t wait.