Run Oregon’s Favorite Races: Relays

Run_Oregon_LogoThere are a LOT of races out there. And we tend to like most of them. We also tend to participate in more of them than an average runner, just because there are 16 of us and one of you. So here is a compilation of Run Oregon's favorite relays which are still running strong. (In alphabetical order by each blogger's last name:) Kelly Barten: There are so many great relays in our area, but my favorite has to be the Barrel to Keg Relay from Philomath to Newport. From Harris Bridge Vineyard to Rogue Ales Brewery, to be precise. This one-day relay is a non-profit, with proceeds supporting Lane County's Community Services Consortium, and runs through varied terrain with stunning views. The course goes on logging roads and through small towns, up and over the Coast Range, and along various creeks and waterways right to the final leg's route over the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Teams can be 2-7 people, and solo participants are also supported on this 69-mile running relay or 35-mile walking relay. Registration is only $64/person through April 28 (then it goes up to $76/person) and is already open for the 2016 event scheduled for Saturday, July 16. The race director, Mark Barrett, is a fellow ORRC volunteer RD and he does an outstanding job.

Brian Bernier: I have done a couple relays, and my favorite multi-day event is definitely the Epic Relay. Exploring a rather roundabout route from Beaverton to Eugene, it is a great way to enjoy the relay experience without worry of traffic jams or crowds. This may be a lesser known event, but the organizers do a great job every year of creating a well run event. In the world of one day relays, I got my first experience just last year at 12 Bridges, running with local legend Chuck Coats. Just Chuck. So we split at 65 mile course between the two of us in a crazy, fun, wearisome day. I look forward to doing it again this year, as it is one of the most scenic places I have ever run, with loads of friendly participants.

Joe Dudman: Fellow blogger Matt has the awesome Three Capes Relay covered (see below), so I will sing the praises of two of my other favorite relays: My favorite overnight relay is “The Daughter Of All Relays”, Cascade Lakes Relay, with its fantastic scenery, great atmosphere, creative special event legs, and relative lack of traffic and congestion. The heat and elevation (and mosquitos) can make the running very tough, but when you look around, take in your spectacular surroundings, and realize where you are, you will really appreciate the unique experience of running with friends in Central Oregon. One-day relays have really taken off over the last few years, and my favorite of these is the Twelve Bridges Relay, which takes runners along the peaceful Banks-Vernonia Trail and through Stubb Stewart State Park.

Geli Heidelberger: The only relay on my running resume (aside from some 4 x 100’s in my middle school track days) is the Mother of all Relays: Hood to Coast. I have participated three times now (and twice as a volunteer) and each experience was very unique and different from the others. I love Oregon’s geography, and Hood to Coast shows it off: You start at 6,000ft on Mt Hood, make your way down into the Willamette Valley and Portland, before crossing the Coastal Range towards the beach. I enjoy the backroads between exchange 18 in Saint Helens to the beach the most. It’s too bad it’s always been dark when I passed through there. When you talk to other runners about Hood to Coast, there seem to be only two opinions: There are those who love it and strive to participate every year, and there are those who thing that registering eleven months in advance is a hassle, traffic is a nightmare, and they would never consider signing up. I say, if you have the chance to be on a team, take the chance and experience for yourself. Make sure you have teammates who you can stand being in a van with for 36 hours (or less if you’re faster than my teams 😉 ), because the people you’re with will make or break it much more so than anything that may be going less than perfectly during the race. In the end, you’ll all meet at the beach (unless the finish line is blown away) and be glad you were part of something fun.

Tina Langley: Of all of the relays I have done, I have to say the Grand Teton Relay, which starts in Ashton, Idaho and ends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is the favorite one. I do it with a group of my high school alumni every year, and every year it seems to get crazier and well, more fun. The race itself is very low key, the course isn’t crowded like Hood to Coast, the exchanges are fun but not crazy and it’s easy to find a place to throw down a sleeping bag or get a bite to eat on your down time. The craziest two legs are run up the Grand Teton Pass, and down the other side. Absolutely brutal. The last leg is torture, about five miles with no support on concrete and no shade and it’s always deathly hot. The finish is super low key. You can have your picture taken with Bigfoot and get a free ice cream sandwich. Definitely one for the bucket list.

Matt Rasmussen: I haven’t run a whole lot of relays in my running career and 2015 was my first Hood to Coast. However, given my limited team running experience, one of my favorites is the Three Capes Relay, held each February. The race begins at Cape Meares on the coast outside of Tillamook and finishes on the beach in Pacific City. The race is 26.2 miles and 5 legs, yet teams are composed of all sorts of sizes and combinations, so no worries if you can’t find enough people to fit all 5. In fact, me and fellow blogger Joe did this as a duo and had a great time. The race is definitely tough with some hell-ish legs, specifically the ascent up to Cape Lookout State Park. But that makes it even more rewarding afterwards, as well as providing some of my favorite race pictures of all time.


About Matt Rasmussen (1598 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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