Friday, September 27, 2013

Inspired by Johanna, Team Joha rules in Oregon

Best result in Hood to Coast 200-miler

A happy group of Team Joha runners on the beach Aug. 24 at Seaside, Ore. Top row, from left, Barkley Hedinger (Los Angeles, Ca.), Angenie McCleary of Ketchum, Julie Carney of Ketchum, Chrissy Francek (Spokane, Wash., driver and former teammate who re-joined this year in honor of Johanna), Susan Ashlock (Seattle, Wash.), Kelli Lusk of Ketchum, Lauren Mathews (Seattle) and Kristi Houk (Seattle). Bottom, from left, Erica McElrea (Seattle), Laura Mickelson (Seattle), Sayaka Yoshinaga (Seattle), Sara Donahue (Boston, Mass.), and Linda Huyck (Olympia, Wash.). Photo by courtesy photo

     Members of the triumphant Team Joha squad wore t-shirts saying “Run Happy,” that also had a photo of Johanna Olson—a smiling photo because Johanna loved to run. The 12-member team ran in memory of Olson, who lost her valiant 15-year battle with brain cancer Jan. 3, 2013 at age 33.

     Team Joha, consisting of three runners from the Wood River Valley, won the women’s division of the 32nd annual Hood to Coast Relay Aug. 23-24 in Oregon. The 198-mile relay started from Mt. Hood’s 6,000-foot Timberline Lodge and ended on the beach at Seaside, Ore. Over 12,000 runners took part.

     Captained by Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary of Ketchum and in its 10th year as a group competing in the world’s largest relay race, Team Joha won the Open Women’s Division and finished 20th overall of 1,011 teams at 21 hours, 42 minutes, 38 seconds—a pace of 6:35 per mile.

     Team Joha, formerly called Girls Just Want to Have Fun, won its women’s category by 55 minutes and was 59 minutes faster than last year. Others on the team from the valley were Julie Carney and Kelli Lusk.

     McCleary said, “A few other years we have won the Open Women’s Division, but only this year and in 2010 were we actually the fastest all-women’s team in any division. This was our best result in the 10th straight years we’ve done it.

     “Although we were late getting our next runners to three exchanges in congested Portland during rush hour Friday (losing 15 minutes), we still won by almost an hour.

     “This year was particularly special because we ran for Johanna. Johanna was one of the original teammates and was on the team almost every year. In 2011 she ran HTC just a few weeks before her third brain surgery. She continues to inspire our team and it was very special to run in her honor.”

     Carney, on the team for a fifth straight year, said, “Running the Hood to Coast with the team has been one of the most inspiring and gratifying experiences in my life. Being on Team JoHa makes me feel very proud. Johanna Olson's spirit will be with me wherever I go!”

     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 men’s team from Portland, Ore. finished in 17 hours and 52 minutes, a pace of 5:25 per mile.




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