(Photo | by Thomas & Velo Photography)
On August 2 and 3, the 12th annual Cascade Lakes Relay (CLR) will again take place in beautiful Central Oregon. Created by Cascade Relays, CLR is Central Oregon’s largest running event with 3,500 participants hailing from 31 states and two countries. Runners start early Friday morning from Diamond Lake Resort and run throughout the day and night for a total of 216.6 miles, finishing at Riverbend Park on Saturday.
With a maximum of 12 runners per team, each participant runs an average of 18 miles. These tenacious and courageous runners endure extreme temperatures, thousands of feet of elevation gain and loss, bloodthirsty mosquitoes, belligerent bees and an abundance of dust as they run from Diamond Lake to Silver Lake, through La Pine and around the backside of the Cascade Lakes Highway to finish in Bend.
Nearly all participants are local to the Pacific Northwest, traveling from Oregon, Washington, and California to Central Oregon for the event. The race typically sells out in one day on October 1st for CLR the following August, with the majority of runners returning year after year.
To make this event possible, Cascade Relays partners with sponsors and local businesses to provide food and various services. For the second year, Columbia Bank will be supporting CLR runners along the course. They will also be hosting a lounge at the finish line, complete with food, beverages and a photo opportunity.
“Columbia Bank is extremely excited to once again partner with Cascade Relays for the annual Cascade Lakes Relay. The commitment and dedication of the race participants is something we look to emulate in all that we do here at Columbia Bank,” said Columbia Bank Bend SVP, Cory Allen. “We would like to extend an invite out to the entire community to come join us at the Columbia Bank finish line area to cheer on the competitors as they finish, enjoy some great family-friendly activities and listen to live music. We look forward to seeing you there and best of luck to all of the participants!”
Scott and Carrie Douglass created the race 12 years ago as a way to showcase their hometown. Unlike other relays, which have focused on numbers and monetary success, the focus for Cascade Relays is quality and maintaining an intimate, family feel. In fact, the inaugural CLR took place only three days after Scott and Carrie’s wedding.
“We love seeing so many people come together to create such a fantastic community. Every year, we are continually amazed by the generosity and enthusiasm of our participants,” said Cascade Relays CEO, Scott Douglass, “At the end of the day, we love Central Oregon and we want to be a force for good in the community.”
Cascade Relays works extremely hard to provide a positive societal benefit and to minimize any negative impact on the community. The Cascade Relays Foundation donates over 75,000 annually to local nonprofits and community groups and has contributed over 300,000 since 2008. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and Ronald McDonald House as well as a number of small charities in La Pine and Silver Lake have received funding from Cascade Relays in meeting annual fundraising goals.
Cascade Relays also produces the Beer Chase series, a series of one-day relays with exchange points hosted by local craft breweries along an approximately 50-mile course with teams of six runners completing 12 legs. In 2020, there will be Beer Chases in Bend, San Diego, and Boulder.
Columbia Bank is dedicated to being a local bank deeply rooted within their community. That is apparent through their annual financial support of a multitude of organizations as well as their own Warm Hearts Winter Drive that raised $220,365 and generated 6,542 items of winter gear and supplies benefitting over 58 local homeless shelters across the Pacific Northwest.