Three Cheers for the Three Capes Relay (Cape Meares to Pacific City)

Relay races are such a great way to be with friends, create memories, and get active. Three Capes Relay has been very popular amongst the Run Oregon team. We have had many racers over the years participate in this great race, myself included. With so many relay races to choose from, this one is definitely a top race in my book. The course, the distances, and the scenery are just a few reasons why I always recommend the Three Capes Relay.

Image result for three capes relayMany 1 day relays take the whole day to complete, Three Capes Relay however, is only a distance of 26.2 miles. On the course there is an over 2,400 ft elevation gain, starting and ending at sea level. Participants can choose to run as a team of 5, run with a partner, or run by themselves. There are 5 legs that spread throughout the course, which runs by 6 state parks, 2 wildlife refuges, and many different parks. The scenery is breathtaking, and will surly make the miles fly by.

Image result for three capes relay

Leg #1: This leg starts adjacent to Cape Meares Lake. Leg #1 is 4.47 miles long and rated as very difficult. While you will enjoy views of Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge, Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, and Cape Meares Lighthouse State Park, you will also be climbing a 6% grade right from the start. You’ll run back down to almost sea level, but not before you make a few more climbs along the way.

Leg #2: This leg is 5.44 miles and rated as difficult. Runners will start in Oceanside and enjoy (or endure) rolling hills with views of the Pacific Ocean past Oceanside, Happy Camp, and Netarts Bay. The difficult rating of this leg is due to 2 category 5 climbs along the way.

Leg #3: This 5.02 mile leg is rated extremely difficult. Starting at scenic Netarts Bay, Leg #3 is mostly flat for about 2.5 miles. And then the 800 foot 6.5% grade climb begins. All that climbing will be worth it when you reach the summit of Cape Lookout State Park – which is also the end of this leg.

Leg #4: This is the longest leg of the relay at 6.82 miles, but is rated as moderate. Starting at the summit of Cape Lookout State Park, downhill lovers will enjoy the negative drop of over 600 feet. This leg will run through the dunes of Sand Lake and finish at the Whalen County Park.

Leg #5: The final leg of this relay is rated as easy and is the shortest at just 4.45 miles. It is relatively flat with just a 167 foot climb. Starting at Whalen County Park, this leg will run to Pacific City, just in front of the beach at Cape Kiwanda. A perfect location for some great finish photos with the whole team.

Photo Courtesy of Three Capes Relay

Here is a little quote from a previous year where we participated:

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)
Race day is on February 25th and starts at 9am. The cost to participate in this race is very minimal. To have a 5 person team the cost is $249, to have a 2 person team $129 and to have a solo runner is $79. The race profits are also shared with Tillamook High School Track.

The beauty alone from this course is reason enough to sign up for this great race. Come join fellow runners on this one-day relay at the coast.

Race Details
  • When: February 25th
  • Where: intersection of Bayocean Rd. NW and Bayshore Drive (Leg 1)
  • Cost: $249 team of 5, $129 team of 2, $79 solo runner
  • Register: HERE
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.

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