Kent cops tough out Mountains to Sound Relay

Kent Police officer Jeff Cobb discovered just how tough it can be to paddle a kayak in Lake Washington during a relay race.

Rick Gilcrist competed in the road-cycling portion of the Mountains to Sound Relay June 29 for one of two Kent Police teams. Gilcrist

Rick Gilcrist competed in the road-cycling portion of the Mountains to Sound Relay June 29 for one of two Kent Police teams. Gilcrist

100-miler proved difficult

Kent Police officer Jeff Cobb discovered just how tough it can be to paddle a kayak in Lake Washington during a relay race.

Cobb and 10 other members of the Kent Police Department took their physical challenges to a new level when they competed in the 100-mile Mountains to Sound Relay. The June 29 race started at Snoqualmie Pass and finished at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard.

The Kent Police split into two teams for the race. The relay included mountain-biking, road-biking, kayaking and running.

Kent bicycle officer Rick Gilcrist came up with the idea to enter the relay because several police department employees enjoy bicycling and running as recreational activities.

“It seemed like it would be fun,” said Cobb, also a bicycle officer, in an interview last Wednesday. “It was a lot of fun.”

The relay started with a 23-mile mountain-bike ride from Snoqualmie Pass to Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend. Then the road cyclists picked up their part in the race, covering 50 miles from North Bend to Luke McRedmond Park in Redmond.

Then the kayakers paddled 12 miles down the Sammamish Slough to the Log Boom Park on the northern shores of Lake Washington. Half-marathon runners took over at Lake Washington to run along the Burke-Gilman Trail to Seattle’s Gasworks Park. Then a second fleet of runners covered the final 6 miles from Gasworks Park to Golden Gardens Park.

Cobb took on the kayak course, and trained by paddling laps around Lake Desire near Renton. But that training didn’t prepare Cobb for what he faced on choppy Lake Washington.

“That was really hard,” the officer said, of paddling through the big waters of the lake compared to Lake Desire. “And I had to yield to a seaplane.”

He covered the 12-mile course in a respectable 2 hours, 51 minutes.

Cobb said he plans to prepare for next year’s relay by training at Lake Meridian and Lake Washington.

The two Kent Police teams competed to honor three of their fellow officers who have died while working for the department. Those three are Harry Miller, the town marshal shot by robbers in 1908; Terry Orr, who died from cancer in 2003 after six years as a Kent officer; and Greg Duffin, who died from cancer in 2007 after 12 years as an officer with Kent.

The names of Miller, Cobb and Duffin were printed on the back of black T-shirts worn by the two relay teams. Team Orr, as one team was called, included six members while Team Duffin, the second group, had five members.

“We thought we would try to enter one team, but the idea caught on and we ended up with two full teams,” Cobb said. “We might have three teams next year.”

Team Duffin completed the relay in 9 hours, 32 minutes and placed 22nd out of 36 teams in the Open Division. Team Orr finished in 9 hours, 47 minutes and placed 18th out of 36 teams in the Open Coed division.

With temperatures more than 90 degrees, the relay became even more of a challenge than anticipated.

“The heat really crushed the runners,” Cobb said. “We couldn’t train for the heat.”

The Kent Police participants included mountain bikers Andy Kelso and Mike O’Reilly; road bicyclists Gilcrist and Matt Wheeler; kayakers Cobb, Kevin Bateman and Craig Lamp (who now works for the Bellevue Police); half-marathoners Jared Kasner and Autumn Majack; and 6-mile runners Howard Engledow and Jeremiah Johnson.

“It was good for a lot of camaraderie,” Cobb said. “We anticipate we will do it again next year.”

More than 900 athletes and 175 teams competed in the third-annual Mountains to Sound Relay. Thirty-five people completed the course as individual entries.

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