It was a sweltering and sticky afternoon when Jeremy and Dearric met in the Cascade Relays warehouse to talk strategy for the upcoming Cascade Lakes Relay. Unlike the teams of twelve runners participating in the event, these two were preparing to run the 216.6-mile course solo. Although both have been running for about a decade, they are armed with thousands of miles of experience and enough motivation to see them through the finish.
“Running doesn’t come naturally to me,” said Dearric with a wry grin, “I originally began running to become a better climber. After running a few half marathons and eventually a full marathon, I heard of someone named Ted Jackson who runs for his wife with MS. I decided to do a 50K for my wife and all of a sudden it wasn’t far enough.”
Dearric’s wife of 12 years, who has crippling migraines, is often unable to perform basic tasks or attend events due to her debilitating headaches. As a result, Dearric runs to raise awareness and funds for a long-term cure. Sponsored by 10 Barrel and PROactive Physical Therapy Specialists, Dearric has already amassed almost $10,000 for the Association of Migraine Disorders.
“Migraines are kind of a closet condition. You can’t see them so it is hard to be empathetic,” said Dearric with clear conviction, “Our understanding of migraines is very fledgling. Why do certain things work for people? What causes migraines in the first place?”
Despite the fact that migraines affect over 10% of the population, Dearric himself has never experienced one.
“Running seems like the closest I will get to having a migraine so it allows for greater empathy,” Dearric said, “My pain stops when I do. People with migraines don’t have that certainty.”
Similarly, Jeremy never ran more than a few miles before running his first organized race, which happened to be the Cascade Lakes Relay almost ten years ago.
“I hated running at first,” Jeremy said laughing, “I thought I was going to die when I ran CLR. I was running eleven-and-a-half minute miles and I couldn’t breathe.”
After friends convinced him to run his first relay, Jeremy became addicted to the running high and went on to do several more 5k’s, 10k’s and half marathons in the next year. Never one to back down from a challenge, Jeremy also participated in Marathon Maniacs with his twin brother Justin and ran three marathons in less than 60 days.
“It was during those three races that Justin got the marathon family record by 45 seconds,” shaking his head, Jeremy smiles, “I’m still trying to beat that.”
Amazingly, after having run in dozens of events, Jeremy still participates in CLR year after year. Undoubtedly loyal, he is an original Cascade Relays ambassador and even has a tattoo of the Cascade Relays logo on his forearm along with his longtime CLR team name, “Press On.”
When asked why he returns to Central Oregon every year for the Cascade Lakes Relay, Jeremy is ready with a quick and confident reply, “CLR has always been the highlight of the year. I think the main thing is that there is such a family feel. Everyone is supporting each other. I’ve done a lot of other races and it’s just not the same.”
Of course, his years as a CLR participant have not been without difficulties. In 2014, Jeremy ran CLR with a team of six, which included their two volunteers. Now, only four years later, he is preparing to run all 36 legs alone with the help of friends and family.
After happily checking a countdown to the event on his phone, Jeremy leans back in his chair and professes that running CLR “solo but not alone” is about more than just the challenge.
“This year will be my 10th Cascade Lakes Relay and it is also the tenth year that I have been sober,” said Jeremy, “I quit drinking a month before I started running ten years ago.”
Additionally, Jeremy runs for the benefit of others by accepting donations to support local food banks.
“There was a time when I ate pancakes for a month,” Jeremy said, “I just want to bring attention to how simple it is to help others.”
With less than a month to go until the 11th annual Cascade Lakes Relay, both Jeremy and Dearric are confident and relaxed. This August 1st through the 4th, look out for these two as they run from Diamond Lake to Silver Lake, through La Pine and around the backside of the Cascade Lakes Highway to finish in Bend at Riverbend Park. Before leaving the Cascade Relays warehouse, both confidently stated they will just “go until they get to the finish, no matter what.”