By Rayna Sage
Early in 2009 a small group of semi-regular runners in the Sociology Department began recruiting for the annual WSU 100K Relay that takes a team of 10 brave souls 62 miles around the Palouse, beginning and ending at the WSU Field House on the Pullman campus. This began a Sociology tradition that entered its 5th year this April! Every year, a different group of runners, mostly from Sociology and the School of Economic Sciences, come together around 6:30 on a chilly Sunday morning to cheer on the first runner, who leaves the Field House, heading through downtown and straight up Main Street past the Gladdish Community Center (the Pullman High School until the 1970s). After the first runner takes off, the remaining nine runners hop in a van, truck, or a couple of cars and move along the course to cheer on the runner and offer water support. The second runner is taken to the next transition area along Wawawai Road, 5.6 miles into the course. With a high five, or in years past, the exchanging of a slap bracelet, the second runner is released and the first runner can rest in the van for the remainder of the day, cheering on his or her fellow teammates along the way. These exchanges continue throughout the course, with the longest legs along the Snake River (coming in at 7.8 and 8.7 miles each). However, the most strenuous leg comes directly after the river legs, with a 6.1-mile run up the “Steptoe Grade.” This dusty, warm, and usually windy leg has been run by Sociology alumna Christine Oakley (PhD ’95), Jeremy Sage (Interdisciplinary PhD ’12), former Sociology graduate student Joseph King, and run twice by PhD Candidate Max St. Brown (Economics). As legs 7, 8, and 9 take the team through the towns of Colton and Johnson, the ratio of relaxed runners who have finished their legs to anxious runners who are waiting to run slowly tips. The last runner on the course runs from Johnson Road, up Stadium Way to finish with fanfare in the Field House. This leg has been run by the teams’ youngest member, Aiden Sage, who was 10 years old at the time. We hope you enjoy our team pictures and if anyone wants to join the “On Your Marx” 2014 team, we are always looking for volunteers!