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They Relay Race in the Rockies, Too

Photos By Gary Hettrick

The costumed workers looked about as out of place as a December rainfall in Montana, but that was the reality of the inaugural Winter Relay at Rocky Mountain Laboratories on Dec. 10.

Borrowing the relay idea from the annual NIH event, RML organizers had visions of a medley relay — snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and running laps around snowbound campus buildings.

What Mother Nature provided was good enough: light rainfall that left the six teams laughing and slogging their way to the finish, plastic pipette batons in hand.

Relay organizer Kit Tilly (aka Dancer from the Reindeer Tick team), was appreciative of the employee support — about 10 percent of the RML workforce participated, and a like number cheered the runners along.

"We also gathered about 200 pounds of donated food" for the Hamilton, Mont., food bank from relay participants and spectators, she said. "We'll aim for even more teams and more holiday season goodwill next year."

For the record, the NeuroDegenerates won by 1 second over the RML security team, Git'R'Done. The Postal Doctoral Loonies were 7 seconds off the pace in third place, followed by the Reindeer Ticks and the Abominables, who dressed in Tyvek suits and facial makeup to resemble snow monsters. Taking up the rear, fittingly, were the construction wannabes, the BL4 Danger Zoners: We'll Blister Your Butt.

Lined up for the relay's start are (above, from l) Jay Silveira, Amanda Weidow, Greg Park, Paul Carlson, Diane Cockrell and Patti Rosa. Below, Carlson passes the pipette baton to teammate Kristine Sabo-Schmitt. At right, Billy Jameson awaits pipette passage from Cockrell.

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