Our Three Capes Marathon Relay Adventure


Our 3 Three Capes Marathon Relay teams at the finish.

Once upon a time, a Run Oregon blogger named Kelly decided to organize multiple teams for a little relay on the Oregon Coast called Three Capes Marathon Relay. As is usual when planning ahead for a team running event – runners were in then they were out, then more were in and then out, and so it continued even up to race day. When the dust settled, there were 3 teams, 8 runners, 1 injured runner, 1 designated driver, and 2 vehicles. Some people were even running multiple legs on multiple teams. Somehow that Kelly girl figured it all out. I just agreed to show up and run.

The interesting thing about this group of 10 was that many of us had never met. In fact, 2 of our group had just recently moved to Oregon. If it wasn’t for the magic of social media, there’s a good chance these teams never would have come together. It turned out to be a true mish-mash of mostly females in their 30s, and maybe one or two that had moved out of that age range, and 2 men.

On race morning this motley crew eventually gathered at a Starbucks to caffeinate, meet each other, and load into various vehicles for the short road trip to the beach. Or so we thought . . . Not far into our drive, emergency vehicles began flying past us. It was only a matter of time before we were stopped behind a tragic accident. After waiting in traffic for a very short time, we were told to turn around. The road would be closed for many hours that day. We turned around and congregated at a nearby gas station. Team organizer, Kelly, made a call to the race director to let him know we would be late and we took the long way to the Tillamook area. Approximately 3 hours after we had left Beaverton, we finally arrived in Tillamook. There was a quick adjustment of who was in what vehicle, as we had decided to start our leg 1 and 2 runners at the same time due to our very late start, then we were off to our various starting points. After the long drive and our previous caffeination stop, we were all more than ready for a port-a-potty break.

Runners in the Leg 1 vehicle arrived at the start with full bladders only to watch in horror as the port-a-potty truck drove off with their hope of relief! Nooooooo! Runners in the Leg 2 vehicle arrived – in the midst of a deluge – at Leg 2, which was merely a pop-up tent on the side of the road in a well-populated neighborhood and not a single port-a-potty in sight. It was a rough start for everyone. Good thing runners are resourceful.

And so began our relay along the beautiful Oregon Coast on a very wet February day. Each leg was well-marked if there was a turn, but many of the legs were just a straight shot. Straight uphill a lot of the time! There was 2,400 feet of uphill climbing overall. And, yes, there was some sweet downhill, as well, but it sure seemed like there was more climbing than descending. However, since the race started and ended at sea level, I guess the ups and downs had to be evenly matched. Regardless, it seemed everyone on each of our teams finished each leg with a smile.

Three Capes Marathon Relay elevation map

With our very late start, we were pretty much always the last team to leave the exchanges. Volunteers were loading up almost as soon as we got our next runner on the road. Despite the fact that we were dragging behind, the volunteers had great attitudes and were very supportive.

The weather proved to be truly Oregonian and we got a little bit of everything that day – snow, sleet, rain, buckets of rain, light rain, wind, and even a few moments of sunshine. Not a single runner managed to stay dry, but everyone remained in good spirits, despite the rain. After all, we are Oregonians, too.

If you spend enough time in a vehicle with others, there’s a good chance you’ll get to know each other. This relay was no exception. Even though it was just a 5 leg, one day relay, we still had plenty of time cooped up together to get to know each other. That’s the beauty of a relay. You may start out as strangers, but you’re pretty sure to end up as friends. And, I have to say, with all the adventure our teams had, it was refreshing to be with a group that didn’t stress out or get all bent out of shape. Everyone just rolled with it – whatever “it” happened to be at the time. Now, that’s what relay running is about. Getting in a good run or two (or three), making the best of whatever the day throws at you, and hanging out with friends – whether new or old.

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