On Oct. 17, Lake Padden Park marked the starting line for the third Trails to Taps Relay. About 31 miles, the relay consists of 10 legs of varying path lengths over trails, parks and sidewalks between different breweries and cideries throughout Bellingham and Fairhaven until the finish line at Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro.
According to Trails to Taps Race Director Anna Rankin, teams were encouraged to wear costumes to help make the event more lively. The relay collects $300 from each team running to help raise money for Lydia Place, a nonprofit based in Whatcom County.
Lydia Place offers transitional and permanent supportive housing programs to families and individuals experiencing houselessness, Krissy McGonnigle said, volunteer and outreach coordinator at Lydia Place.
In 2019, the Trails to Taps Relay donated $2,500 to Lydia Place. Rankin said she’s hoping this year will be able to equal the donation even with 44 teams versus the 67 it had in 2019.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see members of our community giving their time and energy to support those experiencing housing insecurity in Whatcom County,” McGonnigle said.
This year’s relay was extremely wet due to the consistent rainfall throughout the event, but that didn’t dampen any spirits, said Rankin and Casey Burt, a runner in the 2021 relay.
Recalling her experience, Burt said she was excited watching all the people take off running at the beginning of the relay when there was a small sprinkling of rain. But the sprinkle slowly increased until she was getting drenched during her relay leg.
She said she traded verbal high-fives with a fellow rain runner, and that helped make the run a great one, despite the classic Pacific Northwest downpour.
Burt said she ran the fourth leg of the relay, a 2-mile path between Kulshan Brewing Company and Twin Sisters Brewing Company, dressed as Blue from Blue’s Clues. She got involved because her friends and roommates completed the relay in 2019 and relayed how they found fun in the run.
“ was a neck and neck sprint at the end between their team, The Trees, and another team, The Bananas,” Burt said. “So this year, it’s Blue's Clues, and I felt the pressure, but now I want to have a good time and give support.”
Fairhaven Runners and Walkers sponsors the Trails to Taps Relay and have done so since the relay’s start in 2018, store owner Genevie Roguski said. She says she enjoys supporting the event since she finds it quite unique.
“People really love, I think, being part of a team,” she said. “And a lot of people get to be part of a team when they're younger, but once they hit adulthood, there are just not that many opportunities anymore. It kind of brings them back to some of that childhood joy.”
Roguski also noted how inclusive the relay is with the varying leg lengths, ranging from 1.55 miles to 4.95 miles.
“We just like to be able to encourage people getting out, having camaraderie with each other and getting moving,” Roguski said. “This is a great opportunity.”
Rankin had the same sentiment while she helped expand the relay map in 2019 and, in doing so, found new trails to walk with her dog and boyfriend.
“Our goal is to not only bring a lot of attention to those breweries, but to get people on trails and parks that they've never been to,” Rankin said.
Madison Roper (she/her) is a senior reporter for The Front in fall of 2021. The ‘21-’22 school year is her last before getting her BA in news/editorial journalism. She enjoys writing pieces on art, local businesses and events since her favorite part of reporting is interacting with the community. Random conversations on LGBTQ+, mental health, and Asian entertainment are always welcomed. You can reach her at email@example.com.