Spokane to Sandpoint Relay: A 200 Mile Party

A weekend adventure is always great. Of course it’s even better when it involves six to 12 equally crazy friends who have similar poor judgment and a love of running and napping. In a van. And hopefully one of them is a massage therapist.

This August 15-16, the Spokane to Sandpoint relay offers you exactly that kind of adventure. You can bring your own friends if you have that many and they can bribe their wives or husbands into a 48-hour hiatus, or you can join an existing team and just worry about bribing your own significant other or cat.

Runners on a leg through downtown Spokane. Photo: Tim Chandonnet, www.timcphoto.photoshelter.com
Runners on a leg through downtown Spokane. Photo: Tim Chandonnet, www.timcphoto.photoshelter.com

For those of you who haven’t done a relay like this, here’s a little primer so you know what to expect:

A bunch of runner people (six to 12) get a van or two and some willing non-runners to drive. They load it up with food. A lot of food. Fig Newtons, M&Ms, bacon jerky, coffee. A lot of coffee. They leave just enough room for participants, spare socks, and a compact gymnast massage therapist who will pack easily beneath the seat.

The race is split up into 36 legs ranging from three to eight miles. It begins on Mount Spokane, winds its way through downtown Spokane along the amazing Centennial Trail (leg nine, which has a costume competition), and then northward through scenic North Idaho where the course wanders along the Pend Oreille River, finishing on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille in downtown Sandpoint.

This year the route has changed significantly from previous years to provide better logistics, better views, and for the runner’s sake, hopefully some strategic espresso stand locations. One of the changes is that the starting leg is now on singletrack trail down Mount Spokane. I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

Some lucky runner starts the first leg with a grin and dust. Then the team meets them at the first check point. Another runner is then ejected from the van, already loaded up on food and coffee, thereby freeing up space for the sweaty runner to rest. Thus the rotation and running party begins!

Typically each member runs four to six legs of the race in an order the team determines. The only rule is no back-to-back legs. Most of the course takes place on roads with some traffic, so runners are cautioned to be reflective and aware. Moving Slurpee aid-stations are acceptable where safe.

After 200.2 miles and 24 plus hours, one runner and a van filled with the sweaty running posse from each team will arrive at the Sandpoint City Beach for a post-race celebration. The event is sponsored by more than one brewing company, which means the finish line has beer worth running all night for.

If you’ve never done this sort of event, it’s highly recommended and well-organized. Grab a friend, find a team, and run under the stars on a beautiful summer night. It will be an adventure to remember. Spokanetosandpoint.com. //

Photo: Tim Chandonnet, www.timcphoto.photoshelter.com
I can’t think of a better way to start the day. Photo: Tim Chandonnet, www.timcphoto.photoshelter.com

Ammi’s S2S Advice

  • Put the date on your calendar now (Aug. 15-16) and start rounding up a team!
  • Suggested van amenities: Westfalia KitchenAid Artisan Espresso Machine upgrade. It’s in the Yuppie Camper model. A must-have for relay racers.
  • S2S is a self-supported event. So bring your own food and water.
  • You don’t have a team but this sounds like a rad weekend? No problem. Their website has a team finder!
  • Bonus karma: The race donates to local charities that benefit our communities.

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