Monday, October 10, 2011

Malo Kope Keige

Kope Keige Wins the Race

Wow…this blog is a little late….

In September I competed in my fourth race ever-the Perimeter Island Relay.  Our team had been shaken up a lot due to injury, and we were completely unsure of how we would perform.  We were nervous, and many of us felt that we were not in the good conditions we were last year. 

Natalie, one of our new members to the team lead us off, and she gave us a great way to start.  We were so lucky to have her on our team.  She gave us the perfect amount of energy to get us excited about running.

Next up was Kaelin.  Kaelin is by far my favorite person to watch run.  I don’t know if you have ever seen the Friends’ episode where Phoebe tries running….and says the way to run is to run like you did when you were a little kid….Kaelin runs just like this, and it is my favorite to watch.  It always gets me motivated. 

Going third was Jenny, our other newbie to the team.  She just started running a few months prior, and was not taking it seriously, but we were so happy when she said that she would try the race with us.  Jenny was by far the most valuable runner we had.  She was so dominate in all of her runs, and had by far the toughest legs.  I don’t know how she was able to do it, but it was beyond amazing.

I was fourth, and I feel like I did okay.  I pushed myself on the last leg to ensure that I did not walk, even when the heat of the sun felt like it was begging me to just take a break. 

Fifth was Dana, my Savaii sister.  Dana had been unsure about the race because she was not given the opportunity to train properly because of many falavelaves happening in her village causing it to be inappropriate to exercise for several months.  Dana runs faster than anyone I know, her legs just keep going, it is especially impressive on the hills.

Last was Corina.  Corina had been training for this race, and you could see it.  She was faster than I have ever seen her.  She was simply incredible, and brought us to the finish line faster than anyone would have thought…it must have been her fastest run. 

Our driver was one of our fallen runners, Rachel.  She gave us such motivation and helped us so much during the race.  She looked like she was ready to take one of our places, with her matching shirt with us and running shoes on. 

When we finished at the government building we were overwhelmed with the support from the Peace Corps Staff and other volunteers.  It was so beautiful. 

We made it in before the other Peace Corps team, Toa Pisi Koa, and it was nice to cheer them in.

Our team, Kope Keige won the women’s open category for the second straight year, and even beat our time with 11 hours and 42 minutes (we really had nothing to worry about!).

Toa Pisi Koa, a team made up of Kyle, Karen, Chris, Rivka, Danny, and Katie won the Mixed open’s category.

No one was able to beat the record our boy’s team set last year.

After the race, Jenny sent me a text saying how great she felt about her accomplishments...not only had she just finished running around Upolu, but earlier in the year we both biked the island.  We have been able to excel in exercising in Upolu.

The Perimeter Relay was such a great experience, and remains one of the best highlights of my experience in Samoa.


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