12 Bridges, 6 runners, 1 day: Preview of the Twelve Bridges Relay

Twelve-Bridges-Relay-LogoA few months ago, Run Oregon bloggers started putting together a team for the Twelve Bridges Relay. My esteemed colleague, Mr. Matt Rasmussen, took on captain responsibilities and I happily planned to keep my weekly mileage low and not worry about training for a relay. Until Mr. Rasmussen agreed to turn 30, and his wife decided his birthday weekend would be better spent in Las Vegas than pounding out the miles on the Banks-Venonia Trail. The nerve. So, I quite graciously offered to take on the captain role (It's a one-day relay with an out-and-back course, so we won't even need to rent or borrow a van to transport the team on the course). All I knew about the relay was that it is a one-day relay on May 31st on the Banks-Vernonia Trail. Let's face it. I am pretty darn lucky it's a one-day relay with an out-and-back course. Easiest captaining duties ever. But don't tell Matt. I'm planning to milk this.

The total distance is 67 miles; the shortest leg is 4.2 miles and the longest is 8.4 miles. 12-bridges-relay-legs

The first 2 legs take the team from North Plains to Banks. Leg 3 runs from Banks Elementary onto the Banks-Vernonia Trail. After that, legs 4, 5 and 6 run the Vernonia Marathon route backward all the way to Vernonia Banks. Then, the course reverses. Legs 7-9 on the Banks-Vernonia Trail (or should I now call it the Vernonia-Banks trail?); leg 10 starts on the trail and ends up in Banks, legs 11 and 12 back to North Plains.

The start line is at North Plains Elementary School and the finish is only about ten blocks away at the Jesse Mays Community Center. If you’ve run the ORRC Garlic Festival 10k, you’re familiar with both these venues. For the Garlic Festival 10k, runners start at the Community Center and pass by the Elementary School in the last mile. Maybe I should cut Matt some slack.

My runners would have to try really hard to get lost, and there’s small businesses in North Plains, Banks, Vernonia, and along Highway 47 where we can stop for snacks if we need to. The organizers, Tina and Pattric Langley, put on the Bald Peak Half and the Ponderosa Pine Relay, and have also added the Twilight Dragon Relay for 2014. Tina has even contributed some posts for Run Oregon and volunteers frequently at local running events. So I know they’ll do a great job with course marking, porta-potties, and the like.

Sunshine guaranteed for the Twelve Bridges Relay. (well, at least in this photo.)

Sunshine guaranteed for the Twelve Bridges Relay. (well, at least in this photo.)

So far, everything sounds good. I just had two questions: How’d they pick the route and are there really twelve bridges?

“We’ve always enjoyed the beauty and history of the Banks-Vernonia Trail. We wanted to put together a unique running event using the trail, and the end result was the Twelve Bridges Relay,” says Pattric Langley, co-RD. “Technically there are thirteen bridges if you count the Buxton Trestle with many much shorter and span only a few feet in length. A handful of them are quite stunning and showcase the beauty of the surrounding landscape.” Nah … I’ll let him think I’m doing him a huge favor.

If you’re not busy on May 31, 2014, check out the 12 Bridges Relay. While registration is sold out, you can check out this team matching page to look for teams that need runners – or volunteers.

Each team from closer than 200 miles from the race start need to provide one volunteer for one four-hour shift along the course. Speaking of – the Run Oregon team needs a volunteer – so if you’re interested, email us and let us know. You’ll get our undying gratitude and a comp entry to a Really Cool upcoming race.

Here are the vitals:

The Twelve Bridges Relay ... AKA known as the "Easy to Captain Relay."

The Twelve Bridges Relay … AKA known as the “Easy to Captain Relay.”

When: Saturday, May 31, 2014

What time: Teams start between 6a and 9a

Where: Start at North Plains Elementary School at 32030 NW North St., North Plains; finish at the Jesse Mays Community Center at 30975 NW Hillcrest St., North Plains

Register: Registration was sold out for this year, but a few teams just opened up. Register before it’s too late!

6 Person Team: $400
4 Person Team: $265
3 Person Team: $200
2 Person Team: $125
1 Person (Solo): $65

About Kelly Barten (1152 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

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