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by Teri Smith
When Scott and Carrie asked me to join the team last February, I felt pretty confident that I knew what I was in for. Years of running the Cascade Lakes Relay had made me tough, ready for the physical and mental challenges my favorite relay would surely throw my way. After all, I had conquered leg 2a and 2b in one fell swoop. I had submitted myself to the choking heat of leg 5. I was a veteran of sleepless nights and raging mosquitos. Surely being on the race staff could not be as rough as running itself, right?
You probably know where this is going.
Helping put on the CLR kicked my ass.
At a particularly low moment, after having lost wi-fi connection for what seemed to be the thousandth time, I wondered how Scott, Carrie and the rest of the crew could do this year after year. They must be superhuman, I concluded, made of something other than whatever constituted my internal makeup.
I wondered how I would be able to continue.
But as so often happens when you are starting out on that third leg, exhausted by too many miles of running, red vines, and lack of sleep, you find the strength to bring it home. I started to rally.
And I figured out how they keep doing this year after year.
The answer is you.
The runners, walkers and volunteers who make up the Cascade Lakes Relay are some of the coolest people on the planet. People who will give you the water out of their cooler, the blinking red lights out of their supplies, the shirt of their back if you just ask.
You’re silly, spirited, friendly, generous. You’re (mostly) calm, competitive, and kind. You sign up to be Water Ambassadors so you can help your fellow runner. You bring donations of food to send to the Community Kitchen. Some of you even give little gifts to the volunteers.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. This relay is something special. It truly is. We have the best participants, the best volunteers, the best race staff. I would put them up against any race in the world. I feel lucky to have been able to be on both sides of the equation, and I am looking forward to many more years working with the CLR staff and volunteers to bring our favorite people the best experience possible.
Next year, I’ll know to draw on your cheers, your team spirit, and your enthusiasm early on during the weekend. You’ll give me the strength without me even having to ask.
Registration for 2014 will start on October 1st; we can’t wait to see you next year.