This year I participated in the Island Perimeter Relays Race once more, but due to knee injury, this year I was not a runner. Being an honorary member of Team Kope Keine (or in English, “Hurry Girls!), I was made the team driver, responsible for getting the runners from one exchange point to the next, making sure each runner was sufficiently supported in terms of food, drink and medical relief, and possibly most important, scouting out Mormon Church’s (for those who do not know, Mormon churches have SWEET bathrooms!)
The race was as epic as any 104km run can be. After an evening of preparing sandwiches, filtering water, and me learning to drive on the wrong side of the road, we got to bed early in anticipation of our 2:45am wake up. By 3am we were out the door, and at 4am, the first runner took to the empty road, glows-tick baton in hand and ipod strapped on. In order of runners, our team consisted of 6 Peace Corps girls: Natalie “the animal” hailing from group 83, Kaelin “the flash,” Jenny “kuka and MVP,” Lily “the warrior,” Dana “the killer,” and Corina “CorinaC”* (her name sounds cooler altogether but due to Peace Corps policies I cannot give her full name here). I was given the snazzy original name “Driver.”
As one can expect, the day was full of emotion and team spirit. Along the way, Peace Corps who were not running met us on the road to cheer on the runner and give support. Inside the car, we blasted our favorite “pump you up” tunes and tried to keep the atmosphere light. Ten hours and forty-three minutes after setting out we reached the finish line in Apia. Many of our office staff had turned out to cheer on the runners at the finish line as well as a host of volunteers. It was a really beautiful day highlighting the tight bond that has formed between this group of 35 volunteers and our staff and I am proud to say that I was a part of it. Kope Keine took first place in the open women’s division and the mixed team of Peace Corps Runners took first in their division as well. I am proud to be a part of Peace Corps Samoa!