Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A winning relay by Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Hood to Coast 200-miler in Oregon

Many of the Girls Just Want to Have Fun team members came from Washington State, but two came from the Wood River Valley. Top row, from left, Linda Huyck of Olympia, Wash., Erica Pitman, Tiffany McCleary, Susan Empey, Julie Carney of Hailey, Erin Bodnar, Wendy Hagle of Sumner, Wash. and Gwen Lapham. Bottom row, from left, Tony (driver), Lauren Matthews of Seattle, Laura Mickelson, Kristi Houk of Port Orchard, Wash., Angenie McCleary of Ketchum and Lee Ann Donaldson (driver). Courtesy photo.

It was another successful effort for the Girls Just Want to Have Fun relay team during the 31st annual Hood to Coast Relay Aug. 23-24 in Oregon.

Captained by Angenie McCleary of Ketchum and in its ninth year as a group competing in the world’s largest relay race, Girls Just Want to Have Fun won the Open Women’s Division and finished 37th overall of 1,068 teams at 22 hours, 41 minutes, 43 seconds.

McCleary, 35, has captained Girls Just Want to Have Fun each year it has competed in the 200-miler from Mt. Hood’s 6,000-foot Timberline Lodge to the beach at Seaside, Ore.

Hailey’s Julie Carney joined the 12-runner team for the fourth time this year. Suggesting the relay’s origin to end point, the winner of “Best Team Name” award this year was “Powder to Chowder.”

Teams are comprised of 12 runners who each run three legs of about six miles each for a grand total of 36 legs. This year’s winning overall team from Japan’s Toyo University finished in 17 hours, 14 minutes and 34 seconds. The event raised a record $615,000 for the American Cancer Society.

McCleary said, “It is a truly amazing race. There are 1,000 teams of 12 runners each out there and energy is incredible. It’s always an adventure.  In 22 hours a lot can happen. It seems like every year we have some kind of challenge.

“This year, we missed an exchange and lost 30 minutes. Everyone on our team stayed positive and ran really fast, and we still ended up doing well.

“Coming together as a team to overcome challenges is part of what I like about the race. I love to run and race, but it so much more fun when you are coming together with 12 women to all work together towards one goal.”

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