Guest Recap: 2016 Twelve Bridges Relay

Winner of best team motto!

This post was written by Noelle Gross. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you are wanting to write a preview or recap your running experiences as well! The views in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Run Oregon. The forecast for Saturday June, 4th is calling for 100 degree weather. I know, let’s get a group of friends together, let’s say 6, and run 65 miles together! Doesn’t that sound amazing? It actually is. Thus begins the day Team 2 Legit 2 Quit ran the Twelve Bridges Relay in North Plains Oregon. The 12 Bridges Relay is a one day relay. It is an out and back course that is 65 miles from beginning to end. It begins at Jessie Mays Community Center, heads towards Banks, picks up the Banks-Vernonia Trail, loops around Vernonia Lake and repeats the course, ending where it began. It is a very beautiful course as it winds through country roads, by farms, a yard sale or two, by baseball games, through the woods, over bridges 12 bridges and around a lake. If you happen to miss something on the way in, you are sure to catch it on the way back.

This was the third year for Team 2 Legit, also the third year for 12 Bridges, and it did not disappoint. The fun, the run and the sun were all there. The course, organization and all around fun have continued to grow and increase each year. I love this relay for the fact that it takes one day. I am not giving up a whole weekend, running in the middle of the night, or sleeping on the rock hard ground. It is all done in a day. I go home to a shower, eat a real dinner, and sleep in my own bed. Yet it has all the fun of a relay race. The closeness the team gets in the van; sharing food, sharing gas/poop stories (we all know runners have this problem!), sharing music, taking pictures, and keeping each other hydrated and safe. It also doesn’t require captain meetings, volunteer meetings or early packet pick up. You can literally sign up, show up, and run. Easy.

But what is extra special about 12 Bridges, is that you feel like you are all a part of a large team. Each team is cheering you on as you pass them. Teams are offering you water or a hose down as you are running. You get to know the other teams that are running similar times as yours. You look for their vehicles at each exchange point, and wondering whose runner with exchange first. You begin chatting about your runners, your team and anything else to pass the time. You wish them luck as you (hopefully) leave first and beat them to the next exchange point. And when the race is over, you look forward to seeing them again the following year.

Is this sounding fun yet? Here is a little more about the actual running party of the race…The legs range from medium to hard and are based on mileage and elevation gain. The shortest leg is 4.1 miles and the longest is 8.4. The two shortest straws in our van run the 8.4’s. Having run 3 different legs and driving the others, the legs are all very doable. Leg 4, 8.4 with an elevation gain, is the only true hard leg. The whole course is relatively flat with some modest elevation gains throughout each leg. The fact of “what goes up must come down” plays very true to this out and back course.  The first two legs and last two legs are run on country roads. You are often passed by tractors and trucks and run by multiple farms, and a not to miss garage sale that has been there every year.  The third leg picks up the Banks-Vernonia trail after running through downtown Banks. Legs 4-6 continue on the Banks-Vernonia Trail where it is paved and full of other runners and bicyclists. Be prepared to answer questions about the race, because everyone on the trail wants to know why you are wearing a bib number.  A loop around the lake in Vernonia and you are headed back the way you came. The course is easy to follow, yellow arrow signs guiding your way and signs that say wrong way in case you take a wrong turn. There are volunteers at main intersections and exchanges helping and answering questions for runners and spectators

After a long day of running, cheering and eating snacky foods, all you want is a real meal, time to actually sit down and relax, and to take off your shoes and put on flip-flops. You get all this, and much more at the end of the race. Your team meets your final runner right before the finish, so you can all cross the finish line as a team. Medals are given, team photos are taken and your team name is announced over the loudspeaker! There is music playing, teams, families, volunteers and spectators from the day eating, drinking and discussing the race. Each year, we have enjoyed different food at the end of the race. This year was our favorite. Snow cones, a beer, and grilled cheese sandwiches. All delicious and well deserved! There is an award ceremony for top finishes in each category. It’s a great time to actually talk to other teams you have been “leap frogging” all day. It’s a last chance for team photos and time to actually sit as a team and chat.

Team 2 Legit 2 Quit will be back next year, no doubt. Look for our brown van, decorated windows, cow bells ringing and MC Hammer songs blasting from the roof. This was our slowest year, but no doubt one of the most fun. We look forward to this team event every year.


About Matt Rasmussen (1612 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.
%d bloggers like this: