Dodds and team tackle Mtns. to Sound Relay

Many Islanders search for physical challenges during the summer. Western Washington has many marathons, bike races and other physical activities to take on during the summer.

For Mercer Island residents Cathy and Mark Dodd, this summer offered an opportunity for one of the newest and most grueling events: the Mountains to Sound Relay on Sunday.

“It was easier than I thought to get team members,” said Cathy Dodd. “I sent out an e-mail and got responses within 15 minutes. It was a pretty amazing day. But it was really hot.”

The Mountains to Sound Relay is an Ironman competition for individual athletes and teams. The course runs from Snoqualmie Pass to Golden Gardens Park in Ballard for a total of 100 miles of mountain biking, road biking, running, kayaking and a sprint to finish the course.

“We were out there to finish, not to compete with others for finish times,” said Cathy Dodd.

The race took a turn for the worst for the team as Walgamott crashed and had to go to the hospital.

The couple’s team was not only athletic but generational, comprised of Mark Dodd, 53; Cathy, 46; Jim Miles, 63, a friend of Mark’s who competed in the run; Mary Walgamott, 31, who competed in the road biking; and Krityn Popejoy, 23, who competed in the mountain biking portion.

“She should be fine,” said Cathy Dodd. “She’ll be on the couch for about a week, though.”

The crash prevented the team from having an accurate finish time for the race.

All the participants are experienced in their legs of the race in varying degrees.

“Mark runs several half marathons a year, and I knew some people in my kayaking class that had done this race before,” said Cathy Dodd.

Training for the event was not easy with western Washington weather.

“Many days were wet and cold,” said Cathy Dodd. “One day, I was the only paying customer on the water. This course is very daunting for me.”

Cathy said that both of the other women on the squad were avid bikers.

Meeting via e-mail and keeping touch over the phone was interesting as the team had never been together at the same place and time until the day of the race on Sunday.

“It was very exciting to meet in person,” said Cathy Dodd. “Everyone was friendly and excited for the race.”

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