Winthrop, Washington, is the kind of place that can give a person a moral dilemma–it’s so wonderful that you want to tell everyone about it, yet you want to keep it all to yourself. Thank goodness we have friends who are sharers. They introduced us to this getaway last year and we’ve been back three times within one year.
Our most recent visit to Winthrop was for the 31st annual Sunflower Relay and Marathon, a running event through the trails and backroads and hills of the Mazama-Winthrop-Twisp area. An outdoorsy friend who’s done this relay with friends for years talked us and a big bunch of mutual friends into it (she didn’t have to press us too hard) and Nacho Man, Lupe, and I participated.
I’ve done a couple of other runs in Seattle, and my goal has always been to get to the finish line pronto. There’s nothing like a timing shoe tag to bring out my competitive streak. But there’s no timing shoe tag at the Sunflower. There are 26.2 miles of stunning scenery, shared with a bunch of mellow, outdoorsy people who don’t think that pushing themselves to their max and enjoying the view should be mutually exclusive. And so, I slowed down, even stopping a couple of times during my 4.2 mile leg, to take in my surroundings:
I didn’t see any wildlife on my leg, but Lupe said she saw what looked like a venue (I believe this is the correct term) of vultures feasting on something in a field. Bet that made her turn up the speed a little.
With legs that vary in length and difficulty, there’s something for every type of runner. This also means that it’s an incredibly kid-friendly activity. The youngest child on our leg was seven years old, and he booked it! I was initially worried about Lupe running without us, but once I saw that this is a supportive group of runners on very clearly marked, well-traveled trails, my worries went away.
I can’t wait until Rue is a little older and can join us. She was waiting for me at the finish line.
I have a feeling we’ll be returning for the 32nd annual Sunflower.