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Vol. LXIV, No. 21
October 12, 2012
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All Runners, Great and Small
29th NIH Institute Relay Takes Off

On the front page...

The late summer sun pours down on the Bldg. 1 lawn. Then, shattering the tranquil prospect, comes the honk of a species endemic to the Bethesda campus.

The Canada goose? Not.

R&W President Randy Schools is on the bullhorn, rallying all runners great and small for the 29th NIH Institute Relay.

Competitors from nearly 90 teams with unbeatable names stretch and pace and appraise the competition.

The team Got Teeth? eyes competitors from Twisted Blisters. Social & Behavioral team members read that body language on Resolved Issues. Bone to Run checks out the Decibelles. And everybody dreads Slow & Bureaucratic.

Now the suspense is killing. A last-minute call for volunteer marshals delays the opening whistle until NIH Police Lt. Udon Cheek, a 12-year veteran on the force, is satisfied.

Continued...

Whistling the start of the race were Dr. Michael Gottesman (l), NIH deputy director for intramural research, and Chad Wysong, chair of the R&W board of directors.

Whistling the start of the race were Dr. Michael Gottesman (l), NIH deputy director for intramural research, and Chad Wysong, chair of the R&W board of directors.

“The object is to keep all traffic inside these lines,” he says, as cement mixers growl along Center Dr. “We’ll start when we’re safe.”

R&W board chairman Chad Wysong, R&W staffer Kallie Wasserman and long-time members of the NIH Health Angel’s Running Club such as Jerry Moore have pitched in to help.

Then Cheek gives the nod. NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman and Wysong are braced to whistle the start of the first heat.

“I’m backup on the lower tones,” says Wysong.

And they’re off!

The Gottesman-Wysong duo also starts the second heat, but not before NCI’s Dr. Harold Seifried, president of the NIH Community Orchestra, calls runners to their marks with a musical run played on his 1930s Besson cornet.

If you’re new to the annual relay, to NIH running or to a lunch hour not chained to your desk, it works like this.

Joyful at the exchange were Jaron Lockett (l) and Paul Ebohon of MI/PMF: Warm Up Lap. Share the love! Penny Nguyen (l) and Anna Park (r) of LAT-in Lovers show good fortune to Michael Weiger of Tenacious DNA. Both teams, and even a third, hail from Bldg. 37’s Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Biology, NCI.

Joyful at the exchange were Jaron Lockett (l) and Paul Ebohon of MI/PMF: Warm Up Lap.

Photos (except at right): Ernie Branson


Share the love! Penny Nguyen (l) and Anna Park (r) of LAT-in Lovers show good fortune to Michael Weiger of Tenacious DNA. Both teams, and even a third, hail from Bldg. 37’s Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Biology, NCI.

Photo: Stephen Kales

Top 10 Finishers

Catch Me If You Can(cer) 13:31
T2*’s 14:35
The Figgdom 14:49
The Yan Clan 15:02
Betsy’s Midnight Runners 15:12
2Fit2Quit 15:33
Five Shades of Grey 15:43
VO2 15:46
Higg’s Bozos 15:47
The Wurtz Possible Runners 15:54

Dr. Sarah Sohraby, deputy scientific director, NEI, and a member of Eye Aie Aie, showed spirit at the starting line. “The competition was mesmerized by her yoga tree pose,” said teammate Dr. Rick Fisher. “We had a big advantage to start the race!”

Dr. Sarah Sohraby, deputy scientific director, NEI, and a member of Eye Aie Aie, showed spirit at the starting line. “The competition was mesmerized by her yoga tree pose,” said teammate Dr. Rick Fisher. “We had a big advantage to start the race!”

All institutes and centers may enter as many teams as they like, each with five runners, to make a half-mile loop around the historic core of Bldgs. 1, 2 and 3. Each team must have both men and women, with at least two runners of the same sex. The team with the fastest time has its name engraved on the Allen Lewis NIH Memorial Trophy located in the Bldg. 31 Fitness Center.

Here are the winners of this year’s relay:

Catching first place, for the second year in a row, was Catch Me If You Can(cer), which posted a time of 13:31, just off last year’s pace of 13:05.

The T2*’s snagged second place in 14:35.

And The Figgdom conquered third place at 14:49.

As for Slow & Bureaucratic, finishing 33rd out of 88 makes them Well above Median & Bureaucratic.

Any footrace spells healthy competition. The NIH relay is also about inclusion: mesomorphic jocks, new converts to the NIH Health’s Angels Running Club, Sunday joggers and mighty underdogs.

It’s also about playfulness. Research shows that the fun groove—indigo T-shirts and shaking the kinks out—improves morale.

Some folks root for more than one team, or for any runners who look like they need a boost. NIH intramural studies show that among fans who cheer and raise placards, the species Supportus nihii has fearsome subtypes historically difficult to isolate and test. Marshals struggle to keep ’em behind the police tape.

In the event itself—win or lose—we find glory.

“I just hope I don’t drop the baton,” one runner said.

And she didn’t.

Winning the relay in a time of 13:31 was Catch Me If You Can(cer), which includes (from l) Rebecca Ferrer, Steven Moore, Nicole Deziel, Frank Perna and Benjamin Emmanuel.
Winning the relay in a time of 13:31 was Catch Me If You Can(cer), which includes (from l) Rebecca Ferrer, Steven Moore, Nicole Deziel, Frank Perna and Benjamin Emmanuel.
Finishing second in a time of 14:35 was T2*’s, who include (from l) Kevin Anderson, Christine Nikas, Lionel Rauth, Andrew Wylie and Bako Orianzi.
Finishing second in a time of 14:35 was T2*’s, who include (from l) Kevin Anderson, Christine Nikas, Lionel Rauth, Andrew Wylie and Bako Orianzi.
Finishing third was The Figgdom (14:49), which includes (from l) Cody Peer, Sarah Troutman, Gareth Peters, Douglas Price and Linda Johnson.
Finishing third was The Figgdom (14:49), which includes (from l) Cody Peer, Sarah Troutman, Gareth Peters, Douglas Price and Linda Johnson.

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