2015 Three Capes Relay: Previewing Joe and Matt’s Excellent Adventure

3capesrelayad_300by200Run Oregon is fielding a 2-person team at this upcoming February’s 2015 Three Capes Relay on the beautiful Northern Oregon coast. The course consists of five legs, ranging from around 4.11 to 7.02 miles in length, and includes 2,400 feet of elevation gain. Runners will head through or right along 6 State Parks, multiple county parks, and 2 National Wildlife Refuges. And the views – oh yes, the views – will be stunning.

Joe did a general preview last month and it is only now sinking in that 1) I am running my first ever relay and 2) I am running with the ridiculously fast Joe Dudman. Both things have put a little knot in my stomach because the race course is such a challenge AND I don’t want to destroy’s Joe’s awesome times with my sure-to-be cruddy ones. But first things first – the legs (with descriptions from the race site):

Photo Courtesy of Three Capes Relay

Photo Courtesy of Three Capes Relay

Leg 1 (Very Difficult)

Leg 1 is the 3rd longest leg, but is made famous for its initial climb.  Right from the gun, there is a category 3 climb, rising nearly 600 feet with a 6% grade. After the initial climb, it retreats mostly back down to sea level, but not without a few more climbs first. This leg has views of both Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge and Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. It passes Cape Meares Lighthouse State Park and finishes in Oceanside.

Leg 2 (Difficult)

Leg 2 is the shortest leg and although it has rolling hills for much of the first 2/3 of the leg, overall climb is not extreme. It has a rating of difficult because of two category 5 climbs. Nearly all of leg 2 has a view towards the West, which means a great view of both the Pacific Ocean overlooking Oceanside and Happy Camp, and a first-hand look at Netarts Bay.

Leg 3 (Extremely Difficult)

Leg 3 is relatively flat for a about 3.5 miles, and then in the next 3 miles climbs over 800 feet with a 6.5% grade (category 2 climb) earning this leg a rating of extremely difficult. This is the 2nd longest leg, but with its climb makes it the most challenging leg in the relay. It finishes at the summit of Cape Lookout State Park just East of the upper parking lot. This leg has stunning views of Netarts Bay.

Leg 4 (Easy)

Leg 4 is nearly the shortest leg and by far the easiest. There is a negative drop of over 600 feet. Starting at the upper park, it runs through the dunes of Sand Lake and finishes at the Sand Lake Store.

Leg 5 (Moderate)

Leg 5 only has 167 feet climb and is rated moderate since the total distance is 7.02 miles.  It finishes on Hungry Harbor Rd., just in front of the beach at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City. This is the final leg of the race and total race time stops at the end of this leg.

In reading over the descriptions, it is pretty clear that although this race has some ridiculously challenging legs – those who complete them are actually rewarded with some of the best views the Oregon Coast offers. Sounds like a worthwhile trade-off. I HIGHLY recommend going to each leg webpage and checking out the pictures of each.

Some specifics to note:

  • The road will not be closed so runners need to be aware of oncoming traffic,
  • An aid station will be at the finish line area, but not in the middle of the course.  Water will be available at all leg exchanges,
  • Headphones are not allowed,
  • There will be no bib timing.  There will obviously be a total time, but individual leg times need to be kept by the runners

Like the Tillamook Distance Project on Facebook for info. Registration is still available, and I personally can not wait to brave the terrain and soak in the views by making this my first relay! Grab a group of buddies, your best running friend, or just be brave and run the entire 26.2 miles yourself – whichever you choose, I can’t imagine it will be anything less than an amazing time.

Three Capes Relay (Cape Meares to Pacific City Marathon Relay)

When: Saturday, February 28th

Where: The relay starts at the intersection of Bayocean Rd. and Bayshore Drive, adjacent to Cape Meares Lake, near Tillamook, and finishes at Web County Park at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City.

What time: 9a. If necessary, a second wave may be added at 10a.

Registration: Solo runners $65, 2-person teams $85, 3- to 5-person teams $150. Click HERE  to register. Register by February 15 to get a tech shirt with your registration.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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