Joe and Matt’s Excellent Adventure: Leg 5 and Joe and Matt’s final thoughts of the 2015 Three Capes Relay

image Read Joe's recap of legs 1 & 2, and Matt's recap of legs 3 & 4. Matt came roaring into the exchange and it was my turn again. Leg 5 was advertised as a mostly flat 7 miles, with a couple of hills near the end. And it was! I started off with a long, flat, straight stretch, followed by some slightly curving shaded sections alongside Whalen Island. I was counting down the miles, knowing the total distance of the relay was a marathon (26.2 miles, for those of you keeping score at home), and this leg was 7 miles. So imagine my surprise and confusion when, after a couple of miles in, I spotted a "Mile 19" mark on the pavement. My math-addled runner's mind took a few seconds to make the calculations, and I couldn't fathom having to run seven more miles from there. Then I realized this must have been a rare course-marking typo, and that had really been the 21 mile mark. At least my mind was at ease, though my legs were still complaining.

I was glad Joe was on my team. This is probably the only way I will ever beat him!

I was trying to maintain momentum by this point, counting off the miles and looking forward to the finish. I spotted a sign saying “Horse Rides! – Open” and thought how nice it would be to rent one for the final stretch. Though not spelled out explicitly in the race manual, I figured that would probably not be kosher, and ran on past the corral on foot.

After another long sunny straight section along the ocean I spotted another hill up ahead. I seriously contemplated taking a quick walk break during the climb, but then I noticed a familiar vehicle parked beside the road. Matt and Craig were standing there with smart phone cameras at the ready, so I kept running, trying to look undaunted. Did they plan that stop strategically to keep me from dogging it and spur me into running up that hill? I may never know, but the photos turned out well.

By this time I could see Haystack Rock looming to the south, mocking me with its apparent nearness. I knew it marked the end, rising out of the ocean just offshore from the finish line. But it was also huge, and not as close as it seemed, like the casinos along the Strip on the old Las Vegas Marathon course.

One more long section through the woods, a final hill, and then mercifully a welcome downhill toward the Pelican brew pub, and soon I was rounding the corner into the parking lot and crossing the finish line through a ribbon held by volunteers, a nice touch offered to every team.

Great people, a low-key atmosphere, an amazing, scenic course, and lucky cloudless skies all contributed to an amazing event. Building on the momentum of the first two years, ironing out a few minor snafus, and the Three Capes Relay should become a popular fixture on the Oregon racing scene.

4th overall, 2nd duo, and 1st in our category! (Pardon the finger)

There are many things I loved about this race:

  • Great RD and awesome local feel
  • Unique location and unique race
  • The ability to hang out with Run Oregon friends and make new ones
  • Challenging and rewarding
  • Beautiful weather (though I know that can’t ever be guaranteed)
  • Finish at Pelican Brewery (mmm…beer)

I texted my wife as I took a little “ice bath” in the ocean about 3 miles from Joe’s finish. As I looked at the waves crashing in, the vibrant blue skies overhead, and the warmth from a 60+ degree sun overhead (in February!), I typed that this was probably the best race ever. I know this will be one that will remain in my running memory bank for years to come!

This event saw double the teams from last year, but didn’t seem overcrowded at all. With the number of climbs along the way, it really stretched people out and kept things moving. Full results can be found here.


About Matt Rasmussen (1554 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, 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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