Guest Post By Carol Rainville, N.D.
Phoyo by pfly via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
Looking for a fundraising venture for your state association? How about a running adventure? Reach the Beach Relay (RTB) is a marathon relay race that covers 200 miles in 24 hours! It starts at Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains National Forest and ends at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. The breathtakingly beautiful course wends its way through mountains, foothills and quaint New England towns, past lakes, streams, pastures and wildlife to finish where the Atlantic surf meets the sandy shore.
All this and during foliage season to boot!
I know it sounds crazy and in many ways it is, but itʼs a sell out event that draws teams from all over the country, many that return year after year. Hereʼs how it works. There are 425 teams, most consisting of 12 runners, that rotate through 36 transition areas, which means each runner will run 3 legs of varying length and terrain. There is an ultra division with teams limited to a max of 6 runners, if youʼre really crazy. The teams travel in two large passenger vans to ferry runners between the transitions. They make up silly team names and decorate the vans, some wear costumes, some are serious competitors and some run just for the fun of it.
They all come for the sociability that starts with high spirits amongst team members and builds into a wonderful camaraderie between all the teams and the volunteers along the scenic route.
This is not a charity event though RTB does donate part of its proceeds to the New Hampshire State Parks and the volunteer groups that man the transition areas. The transition areas are schools, churches, libraries and state parks and because these volunteer groups are local, it feels like coming home. Many groups do additional fundraising by selling tasty homemade food that has earned its own reputation and runner loyalties.
Why would a bunch of naturopaths want to do this, you ask? Well, the very fact that we are naturopaths means that we love a challenge and this race is challenging on many levels. Then thereʼs the tremendous fundraising opportunity - ask your friends, family, patients and the general naturopathic community to sponsor you and youʼll have the money to hire that lobbyist! Itʼs also a wonderful team building exercise - you get to spend 24 hours packed into a van with 5 of your soon to be closest friends and all their smelly gear as you support and cheer each other on. And, of course, thereʼs the outreach opportunity - there are over 5000 runners who are just waiting to be educated about the virtues of naturopathic medicine. So, herd together a dozen naturopathic cats, designate a team captain, start running and donʼt stop until you Reach the Beach!
The 2010 event takes place September 17-18. Donʼt wait too long though, as we usually sell out by the end of April. For full race details, go to the web site www.rtbrelay.com. I have been with this event since its inception in 1999 and am presently the Director of Volunteers so feel free to contact me with questions.
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