It’s Relay Season and the Elkhorn Relay is an Unsung Hero

We are lucky that we have some great relays here in Oregon. Whether you are looking for one-day or overnight runs, there are options for everyone. And while it is great to run HTC every year, sometimes it can be equally awesome to check out a smaller relay in an area of Oregon you likely haven’t done before. Let’s talk about the Elkhorn Relay, an 82 mile relay for 1-6 runners that traverses the largest enclosed valley in the US.

Some awesome things:

  • No volunteers needed – they provide them all!
  • The races finishes with a trail leg – for every runner!
  • Benefits a great cause
    • The RD team is 100% volunteer and all proceeds from our races go directly to funding clean water developments, housing, and other basic human needs in 3rd world countries!
  • Running in some of the most beautiful landscapes that Oregon has to offer! I mean…

Though the race has changed a little over the years (it used to be 200+ miles), we had a guest blogger write in about her experience a few years back. Here’s a little about what she had to say:

The Elkhorn Relay was indeed breathtaking – but not due to the frenetic pace and crush of people in larger, well-known relays. Instead, there were lung-sucking high altitude runs and take-your-breath-away vistas.

The runs themselves were scenic … and, yes, completely epic. Daunting ascents. Pine forests and winding rivers. Acres of green corn, fragrant mint, and golden wheat stubble. Deer by the dozens. Errant cows. Coyotes and raptors in the dark. Gravel, dust, and moisture-sucking heat. Traffic in this part of the state is, thankfully, minimal. Except for one or two local yahoos, we were given a polite wide berth by cars, trucks and farm equipment on the course. The finish featured music, food and awards for the first place team and several side competitions: “King of the Hill” for the steepest section, “The Straightaway of Death” for the longest, flattest, straightest section, and the best race photo.

Definitely head to their FAQ on course legs, distances, and difficulty.


Saturday, August 13, 2022

  • Start = Hilgard State Park, La Grande
  • Finish = Anthony Lakes Ski Resort, North Powder

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.

%d bloggers like this: