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Vol. LXV, No. 22
October 25, 2013
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Off and Running
NIH Institute Relay Celebrates 30th Year

NHLBI’s Gayle Nugent displays a mid-stride smile that tells you what the relay is all about.

NHLBI’s Gayle Nugent displays a mid-stride smile that tells you what the relay is all about.

On a picture-perfect September day, hundreds of NIH’ers sprinted the half-mile loop around Bldg. 1, batons in hand, at the 30th NIH Institute Relay. This year, 94 teams competed. Each spirited team of 5 runners included men and women; many ICs footed multiple teams.

R&W President Randy Schools rallied runners to the start line, whistles sounded and the race was on.

Brent McCright, who raced with FDA/CBER’s team Bright Biologics, joined the nearly half of this year’s runners who were first-time participants. “It’s a friendly competition,” he said. “I’m just out to have some fun.” He paused, then added, “and to beat my next door office neighbor!”

Some runners have been participating for years. Larry Chloupek, management liaison director for the Office of Intramural Research, raced with Gottesman’s Gang, named in honor of his boss, NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman. This is Chloupek’s fifth relay, and he runs on one leg, using crutches, having lost his other leg to pediatric cancer.

“This is one of the biggest NIH-wide events,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. We need a break and it’s nice to be able to have a wholesome athletic event.”

The members of Labs of Anarchy (a play on TV show Sons of Anarchy) are (from l) Stephen Kales, Geoffrey Guittard, Jason Yi (with wig), Kerstin Nordstrom and Rachel Lee. The team is one of two that represented 8 NCI labs from Bldg. 37’s Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Biology. Placing first was NIA Baltimore ‘A Team,’ whose members include (from l) Devin Wahl, Krisztina Marosi, coach Mark Mattson, Lisa Russell, Erez Eitan and Chris Coletta.

The members of Labs of Anarchy (a play on TV show Sons of Anarchy) are (from l) Stephen Kales, Geoffrey Guittard, Jason Yi (with wig), Kerstin Nordstrom and Rachel Lee. The team is one of two that represented 8 NCI labs from Bldg. 37’s Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Biology.

Photo: Shauna Schwartz

Placing first was NIA Baltimore ‘A Team,’ whose members include (from l) Devin Wahl, Krisztina Marosi, coach Mark Mattson, Lisa Russell, Erez Eitan and Chris Coletta.

Photos: Bill Branson (except where noted)

“This is a wonderful event for NIH—healthful, fun and a real morale-builder,” said Gottesman, who blew the whistle to start heat 2 of the race.

The team Hit the Ground Running consisted of members of the NIH veteran recruitment and retention force. All vets themselves, they are (from l) Cathy Troutman, (Ret. Army), NHLBI; Kelley Henry, (former Army/current Army Reserve), NIAID; James Richards, (former Marine), NICHD; Carolyn Johnson, (former Air Force), OD; Jr Smith, (former Navy), OD.

The team Hit the Ground Running consisted of members of the NIH veteran recruitment and retention force. All vets themselves, they are (from l) Cathy Troutman, (Ret. Army), NHLBI; Kelley Henry, (former Army/current Army Reserve), NIAID; James Richards, (former Marine), NICHD; Carolyn Johnson, (former Air Force), OD; Jr Smith, (former Navy), OD.

As in past years, team names did not disappoint. Some names honored lab chiefs, such as Wurtz Possible Runners. Other clever names included the CC’s No Cell Left Behind, NCI’s Labs of Anarchy, NCBI’s DNA Crawlers and OD’s D-FAStest.

It’s tradition for the team with the fastest time to have its name engraved on the Allen Lewis NIH Memorial Trophy in Bldg. 31’s Fitness Center. It was quite a race to the finish. Just four seconds separated the top two teams.

NIA’s Baltimore ‘A Team,’ in their first time competing in the race, got bragging rights, finishing first in 13:56. Right behind them, NIMH’s Brawny Brains clocked in at 14 minutes. NIAID’s No Income and Happy slid into third place, with a time of 14:25.

Making a smooth baton transfer are Mike Mercado and Julie Broussard Berko of Team WRD Kicking Asphalt.

Making a smooth baton transfer are Mike Mercado and Julie Broussard Berko of Team WRD Kicking Asphalt.

“What a fantastic experience,” said David Eckley, who ran with the victorious A Team. His teammate and lab chief Mark Mattson said the team started training for the event back in April in Baltimore, where their intramural research program is located.

“It’s a perfect day for this run and a great mixture of fun people and serious runners,” said Eckley. “It was worth the trip. And it’s nice to see all the smiles and people just here blowing off steam.”

The relay offers a great way to get in some cardio work while promoting camaraderie among colleagues. Runners consider the event a great physical and mental break from their usual busy work days.

“It’s a nice way to break up the work day and enjoy this gorgeous day,” said Michelle Holshue, a clinical nurse running with NIAID’s Clinic 8 HAART & Soles. “Plus we’re getting exercise and being healthy.”

The NIH Institute Relay was hosted by the R&W, original members of the NIH Health’s Angels Running Club and ORS.

Finishing second in the relay were the Brawny Brains. They are (from l) Andrew Pilling, Jenica Tapocik, Adam Steel, Susie Kuo and Srikanth Damera. Finishing third was No Income and Happy, which includes (from l) Changhui Li, Katie Franklin, Andrew Ishizuka, Whitney Thompson and Geoffrey Lynn.

Finishing second in the relay were the Brawny Brains. They are (from l) Andrew Pilling, Jenica Tapocik, Adam Steel, Susie Kuo and Srikanth Damera.

Photo: Abbey Borich

Finishing third was No Income and Happy, which includes (from l) Changhui Li, Katie Franklin, Andrew Ishizuka, Whitney Thompson and Geoffrey Lynn.


Top 10 Finishers

NIA Baltimore ‘A Team’

Brawny Brains

No Income and Happy

The Figgdom

NIA Baltimore ‘B Team’

Pushing Our Gluteus to the Maximus

Happy Impassable Victors

Not A Machine

Distortion Products

Catch Herpes If You Can

 

13:56

14:00

14:25

14:49

14:50

14:56

15:09

15:42

16:10

16:12



Gallery

Jennifer Dine (r) passes the baton to Donna Voeller of TRAIL Blazers, one of two teams from Bldg. 37’s Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology.
Agi Hajduczki of Poxjox Crude begins her lap of Bldg. 1 in jolly form.
As Lt. Udon Cheek (l) gives safety instructions to the runners, NEI scientific director Dr. Sarah Sohraby (c) is clearly raring to go.
Dr. Michael Gottesman (r), NIH deputy director for intramural research, blows the whistle to start heat 2 of the NIH Institute Relay.
The team Pinky and the Brain(slicers) hails from NICHD’s Laboratory of Cellular and Synaptic Neurophysiology in Bldg.  35. They are (from l) Chris McBain, April Johnston, Mick Craig, David Collins and Libby Barksdale.
Dr. Richard Wyatt (l, with whistle and camera) starts heat 1 of the race.
Helen Mayberry of Blue Steel advances the baton past Bldg. 1.

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