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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?
Oregon Marathon Relay

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Rage Race Report: Oregon Marathon Relay 2001

Team Killerwatts sent ripples around which of the following on April 21, 2001:

a. The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) Fountain (located at the start/finish area)
b. The Willamette River
c. The Oregon Masters Track Club
d. The Track and Field World
e. None of the above

At the start of the Oregon Marathon Relay, Eugene, Oregon

Suddenly, Bill Welch (center) & several other OMR runners discover fleas on their left wrists...all at the same time!

Hints: (a) The EWEB Fountain has been drained due to the power shortage in the Western U.S.; (b) due to (a), ripples can no longer form on any river in the West, no matter how stunning five hackers' victory might seem in their own minds; (c) The only ripples over at the OMTC are in the steeplechase pit at Hayward Field; (d) Runner's World did not cover the race, making it a non-event in the track and field world.

Yeah, okay…so the correct answer is (e). But to Team Killerwatts, this was huge. While 2:44 would not beat the top 30 individuals in most marathons, that was the furthest thing from my mind, as each of us accepted the traditional Division Winner's hats for this event. However, it did give me some pause to think as I drove home that if Bruce threw his P.R. at us today (2:22), he would have had plenty of time to shower and get dressed while we continued to hack away at our 6:15 pace. I have no idea how anyone can hang on to twenty-six 5:20's. I don't care how young (or old) they are.

Runners are off!

They're off!

Hugh Hefneresque Mile Markers

Bill approaches mile 3.

In order to get a team together, we had to make a deal with The Devil (see Run for the Shamrock race report) himself after Mark Kalen's hamstring started barking a few days before the race. Fortunately, Todd Bosworth was available, which was great after losing a good runner like Mark.

Desperate to sandbag our way into some hardware, and doing everything I possibly could to find some way to duck all the fast old guys in this town and back into a hat, I thought I could tiptoe quietly into registering for the Open Division, which I noticed was pretty thin last year. Problem was, I found out we were too old for the O.D. It looked like we'd have to run in the Masters Division after all…which I knew meant we were toast against the likes of Robert Towne, Daryl Egbert, Dave McJunkin, and a couple other teams who took another version of Team Killerwatts to the woodshed last year (actually, Daryl's team basically gave us their hats last year, when they had a runner take a wrong turn). So much for sandbagging. I guess I'd have to wait to milk my handicap for Coop and Manclark on the golf course.

Bill Welch with a mile to go

One mile to go!

Pass the stick - Bill to Tommy

Bill hands off to Tommy Williams as Coop
(purple shirt, far left) looks on.

I asked them all about what order they preferred to "carry the stick" (e.g. we would actually just slap hands. But, in this cutthroat business of covering the runners beat, I'd like to think I am just one cool phrase or two away from being discovered by a major mainstream running publication. So I like to slip in a few technical, jargony running metaphors from time to time…you never know) and nobody cared. So I went with Bill, T-Bone, Coop, Todd and me.

The out and back course started at the EWEB Plaza area on the bank of the Willamette River. All runners run the same 5.24 mile course, which proceeds east up the river, crossing at the Autzen Footbridge and continuing upriver just past the Interstate 5 overpass and then returns back to the EWEB Plaza. Probably the saddest part of the whole event was Bill and I actually measuring and marking the miles with a wheel and leading our team on a dry run (…add that to the "Are-These-Guys-Geeks-Or-What?" checklist). At least we didn't all have matching sweats, heart monitors, nipple protectors or worse yet, those stupid band-aid looking things on our noses.

Tommy from the side

Tommy hammers away on Leg 2

Tommy from the back

Lousy 10kTruth photo work

The Bone takes it to the house ("The Bone" takes it to the house, far right)

Bill opened up with a solid first leg, delivering the second place runner right into T-Bone's wheelhouse. We won't talk about the guy that ran the first two legs like a cheetah from one team, and already had about a five minute lead when he made the turn to do the second one. The Bone wasted no time taking charge of second place. Tommy hands off to Coop, now running in second placeHe then gave the honors to Coop to take charge of the whole thing after Mr. Cheetah handed off to a human. Not only did Coop grab the lead for Team Killerwatts, he maintained the one hundred yard gap he started with on the surging team now chasing us, now running second. Once Coop handed the stick to the "Damion," it was all but time for The Final Countdown, baby.

(Tommy hands off to Coop, now running in second place, left) Coop running all alone

Todd absolutely hammered his leg, adding to the efforts of Bill, Bone and Coop for a collective five or six minute lead by the time I got the stick for the anchor leg. Is it the Rage...or is it Chuck?Despite getting tangled up in a string connected to one of the helium filled balloons marking the course turnaround point, which probably cost us our sub-2:44 (we finished in 2:44.02), I managed not to choke.

(Coop runs away from the field, after seizing the lead, above; The Rage amazingly not blowing the lead his mates give him, left)

Anyway, the answer to the above "ripples" question was best answered by the nice OTCM volunteer who greeted me with a warm, sincere "Congratulations, Chuck." Oh, well. The hats are pretty cool. And because the label says "one size fits most," it would probably fit Chuck, too. And that's The Truth.

Tod Bosworth pushing through mile four

Todd Bosworth pushing through mile four on Leg 4.

Todd Bosworth looking strong with 1.25 miles to go

Todd Bosworth looking smooth and strong with 1.25 miles to go.

Coop invites Team Killerwatts to a photo shoot
for his next CD...

2001 Oregon Marathon Relay Team Killerwatts

…and then settles on this one for the cover!

From the 10kTruth - Y2K Archive
Rage Race Report: 2000 Oregon Marathon Relay

I have always loved running relays. Next to the dysfunctional group dynamics and well-timed, eloquent trash talk from your fellow van mates, what I like best about relays is a totally different motivating force: You are running on a team, not just by yourself. However, once you have spent over 20 hours of race time, not counting the trip up and back, dealt with a volatile mixture of perspiration, Power Bars and red potatoes, you are ready to go home. You are also not as quick to say "…sure, count me in…" after doing the Timberline to Seaside thing a few years in a row.

So, I always like it when we get a local relay where we can leave out the sleep next to the van part, not to mention being away from the family for another one of my races. The 2000 Oregon Marathon Relay was such an opportunity. I thought Manciata would like it, too, so when T-Bone came up with the idea, all we needed was a bass player and keyboards: Anita Katz and Andrea Mason. Anita stepped up to be our team captain and signed us on for the 5 x 5.24 mile legs, we all cleared it with our sponsors (er….families) and we were ready to rock.

2000 Marathon Relay Team

Five runners (left to right: Manciata, T-Bone, Rage, Andrea Mason and Anita Katz) made up this Oregon Marathon Relay Team. The race was April 15, 2000 in Eugene, Oregon.

The OMR was making a comeback after several years and the organizers did a great job with over 40 teams participating. I saw some good local runners were there, including Daryl Egbert, Robert Towne and Dave McJunkin. If those guys were running on the same team, we couldn't touch them. Fortunately, we were the only entry in the Corporate Mixed Masters With At Least One Completely Bald Runner Category. I couldn't believe it, but no team was registered for the Open Division.

Tommy would lead off, and would hand off to Anita. Then Bruce, Andrea and me. We had perfect running weather.

Tommy bolted out with his usual "jack rabbit start" and we held the lead just past the fountain, which was about 20 yards from the start. I wondered outloud if his strategic blunder would cost us later. We said terrible things about him while he was on his leg and planned on speaking to him when he got in.

Despite his key mental error, he held a respectable third place upon finishing his leg, but Robert Towne dusted everyone with a solid 30:27opening leg. Tommy made a clean exchange to Anita, who took off like with a spirited pace. But it was nothing like Dave McJunkin's, which generated murmurs in the crowd who could not believe his torrid start. I could. I hung on his shoulder to my PR in the 1999 Coburg Half, just missing my first sub 80 and knew he could handle that start. Wow. That guy can flat out run. And what really angers me is he runs about two and a half age groups ahead of me. And he's had plenty of sub 80's.

Anita held her own, beating her predicted pace considerably and handed off to Manciata, who took off at a more experienced and sane pace. As usual when it's Bruce's turn, the weather turned sour. In fact, it started to pour. Bruce loves to run in conditions like this. He has no choice. I firmly believe weather follows him. In the 1999 Jasper To Banff Relay, he actually had snow caked on his forehead as he ran leg #6. It was the only leg out of the 17 that had poor weather. He also brought in snow and about a 20 MPH head wind at the 1999 Steens Rim Run, which unfortunately is not a relay and we all had to run with him. I always pack an extra set of gloves when Bruce is racing. His brother and law and nephew sure appreciated my precaution at the Steens. Snow? In August? Manciata must be in the race.

Bruce came bursting into view running with attitude as I would expect trying to pick off one more runner right down to the finish before he handed off to Andrea. She took off with her usual smooth, effortless looking style just as it quit raining. Of course. Bruce was done running.

I watched Daryl Egbert take his exchange and shouted some encouragement as he went by. It was great to see him back. He graduated a year ahead of me at South Eugene High School. While we didn't really know each other then, we had a connection as he and my brother were on the wrestling team. Watching my brother all of those years, I believe wrestlers understand how to deal with pain. Just look at the opening photo of Regan, Bruce's brother in law, on this web site. He was a wrestler, too. Daryl is further evidence that toughness is the foundation for performance. It was great to see him back racing again. I love watching him run.

Andrea came into view sooner than her predicted pace. You can always count on a good, steady leg from her. She looked as smooth and fast as when she took the handoff 38 minutes earlier.

I took off, thinking if I broke 31, that would be cool. The leg was an odd distance and I was not sure what to expect. I had a good solid opening mile, slowed in mile two, a so-so mile 3 and finished the last two o.k. I just barely broke 31 and we finished in 2:53, which seemed awful slow, but we got 4th place overall, after a runner on Daryl's team took a wrong turn. I thanked him for the division winners hat, which should have been theirs.

The Rage finishing a Marathon Relay Leg

The Rage finishing

As I walked away proudly wearing my division winners hat, I couldn't help acknowledging that Bruce has run a 2:22 all by himself. To put that in perspective, his PR is a 5:20 average for 26.2 miles and I averaged 5:54 over one fifth the distance and emptied the tank to break 31. Somehow, the hat did not seem to fit all that well after that thought…even though it was adjustable.

Marathon Relay Runners

Jim from Monroe, Oregon showing the latest in camo-running gear with Manciata


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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:44 PM