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Vol. LXVI, No. 21
October 10, 2014
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31st NIH Institute Relay Draws 91 Teams

On the front page...

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins blows the whistle starting heat 1 of the 31st NIH Institute Relay.
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins blows the whistle starting heat 1 of the 31st NIH Institute Relay.

“On your mark, get set...” And with that, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins blew his whistle, signaling the start of the 31st NIH Institute Relay.

The crowd roared as the runners took off and cheers continued as the relay teams ran laps around Bldg. 1.

On Sept. 18, 91 teams ran the half-mile course in two heats under perfect weather conditions. NIDDK’s Run from Obesity finished first in 13:33. Their name will be engraved on the Allen Lewis NIH Memorial Trophy in the Bldg. 31 Fitness Center.

Continued...

“It’s a pleasure to be associated with the NIH Institute Relay. It affords us the opportunity to promote health and fitness on the NIH campus,” said NIH Recreation and Welfare Association president and relay organizer Randy Schools.

He explained that each team had to include 5 runners, with at least 2 women and 2 men.

Dino Maglic of Fast Twitch Fascicles finishes his heat triumphantly. His team finished sixth. A well-executed baton pass should feature both a spent runner and an exuberant receiver, as demonstrated here by Tao Jiang (l) and Charles Renner of Wu Tang Runners.
Dino Maglic of Fast Twitch Fascicles finishes his heat triumphantly. His team finished sixth”





A well-executed baton pass should feature both a spent runner and an exuberant receiver, as demonstrated here by Tao Jiang (l) and Charles Renner of Wu Tang Runners.

Photos: Ernie Branson


Catherine Rehm of NIAID’s outpatient clinic 8 in Bldg. 10 describes her race attire: “Woman Running from NIH Bear, So Scared [Her] Hair Turns Blue.”
Catherine Rehm of NIAID’s outpatient clinic 8 in Bldg. 10 describes her race attire: “Woman Running from NIH Bear, So Scared [Her] Hair Turns Blue.”
The course starts on Center Dr., in front of Bldg. 1. From there, runners turn right onto South Dr., passing Bldgs. 5, 8 and 50 along the way. Next, runners make another right onto Memorial Dr. On their left, they pass the Clinical Center. Then they make one final turn back onto Center Dr. From there, it’s a sprint to the finish.

The relay’s first four runners must hand a baton off to the next runner in an exchange area in front of Bldg. 1. The final runner turns right up a chute onto the Bldg. 1 driveway where the finish line is located.

How each team prepares for the relay is up to them. Some teams practiced for months—commuters could see folks running laps at daybreak and at dusk. Other teams didn’t practice at all. This year’s winner rehearsed during the lunch hour.

“We practiced handing off the baton a lot,” said NIDDK’s Dr. Michael Krashes, a member of the winning team.

The practice paid off.

“The first two runners had really good handoffs,” said Jesse Carlin, Run from Obesity’s group leader. “That put us in a good position down the stretch.”

The second place team, NIA’s Charm City Trailblazers, practiced twice a week for the last 4 months with their coach Dr. Mark Mattson.

Finishing first in 13:33 was Run from Obesity (from l): Ramon Piñol, Danielle Friend, Mike Krashes, Joe Tiano and Jesse Carlin. Finishing second in 13:47 were the NIA Charm City Trailblazers (from l): Ben Becker, Ben Peterson, Krisztina Marosi, Coach Mark Mattson, Erez Eitan and Jess Curtis.
Top three teams (from l): Finishing first in 13:33 was Run from Obesity (from l): Ramon Piñol, Danielle Friend, Mike Krashes, Joe Tiano and Jesse Carlin. Finishing second in 13:47 were the NIA Charm City Trailblazers (from l): Ben Becker, Ben Peterson, Krisztina Marosi, Coach Mark Mattson, Erez Eitan and Jess Curtis.

Finishing third in 14:14 were BOLD Diggers (from l): Beth Moroney, Lizzie Harkins, Mark Plitt, Sophie Wohltjen and Adam Steel.
Finishing third in 14:14 were BOLD Diggers (from l): Beth Moroney, Lizzie Harkins, Mark Plitt, Sophie Wohltjen and Adam Steel.

The first NIH Institute Relay was held on May 24, 1978, when 315 runners, including then NIH director Dr. Donald Frederickson, divided into 63 teams (the director’s team was Donald’s Ducks). Back then, a running club known as Health’s Angels organized the event, with help from R&W. For the first 18 years, it was held in the spring. But due to construction on campus, which affected the race course, and other factors, the event was not held from 1996 to 2001. The race was revived in 2002, as a fall classic.

Schools appreciates the help he receives from relay volunteers, R&W staff, the NIH Police, the original members of Health’s Angels, the Office of Research Services’ Division of Amenities and Transportation Services and everyone else who helps make the event happen.

He hopes this year’s runners are getting ready for next year’s relay.


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