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Runners start in Calistoga
Sponsors Cemex & Swanton Berry Farm
Whale City and El Jarro
Katie Grace needs a new heart & lungs

 

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kathy Groebner of Mankato, MN, Katie Grace's mom, 925.478.1977, groebs4@live.com
Forrest Cook, Swanton Berry Farm, 831.234.5490, forrest@swantonberryfarm.com
Jeff Shapiro, The Relay/Organs 'R' Us ("ORU"), 650.508.9700, run@TheRelay.com

DAVENPORT WELCOMES THE RELAY - Grapes to Berries
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk withdraws as Finish Sponsor after 14 years.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA., April 13, 2009 - During The Relay on May 2-3, up to 3,000 runners will start from the Calistoga Beverage Company in scenic Napa Valley and travel 200 miles on teams of 12 to the Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport promoting the need for donated organs through Organs 'R' Us ("ORU"). The transfer of the baton from runner to runner symbolizes the transfer of an organ from donor to recipient.

The City of Santa Cruz and the Beach Boardwalk have supported The Relay, Organs 'R' Us and 100,000 Americans waiting for organ donors. Santa Cruz Mayor Katherine Beiers, Boardwalk staff, Santa Cruz residents and Santa Cruz businesses (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Ideal Bar & Grill, Dream Inn, Ocean Pacific Lodge, Messiah Lutheran Church) helped The Relay become "California's Longest Party." The Boardwalk management notified Relay organizers in February that, "Due to the economic situation, we have found it necessary to withdraw support for several events."

After exploring other finish options in Santa Cruz (Cowell Beach reserved for another event, Depot Park scheduled for a remodel), organizers noted that the distance from Felton Quarry (Leg 35) to Davenport was the same as the distance to the Boardwalk.

Davenport residents welcome "Grapes to Berries" Relay with many offering to volunteer. Cemex, Davenport Roadhouse and Swanton Berry Farm offered their Davenport properties for the finish line. After two months of discussions, the Swanton Berry Farm was chosen as the safest finish for runners and walkers. Cemex will provide volunteers and supplies.

Davenport offers sweeping ocean views, a 1914 two-cell jail (for runners that don't follow the rules!) and free parking. On the last leg, runners will pass the Davenport Roadhouse, the Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill and El Jarro Taqueria.

Runners will travel a new route to Davenport. On Leg 35, runners travel from the Felton Quarry to Empire Grade Rd. to Smith Grade Rd. at Bonny Doon Rd. On Leg 36, runners travel on Bonny Doon Rd. to Highway 1 and through Davenport to Swanton Rd.

Katie Grace Groebner will be at the finish to thank runners, walkers, volunteers and Davenport residents Hassan Ayyad, Noel Bock, Jim Cochran, Forrest Cook, Amy Hille, Jessie Katz, Renee Kwan, Rick Labahn, Cindy Nelson, Carolina Rocha, Francisco Serna, Satish Sheth, Mark Steadman and others for helping in her search for a heart and lung donor.

After starting with nine teams in 1995, The Relay became the largest event in the world promoting organ donation in 1997 and has attracted more than 300 teams of 12 runners. The 200-mile course through 36 cities boasts the largest number of tourist destinations of any run. Running 3 legs of 3 to 8 miles, participants travel through Calistoga, Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight under a full moon, through San Francisco and Silicon Valley to Davenport.

The Relay is not about being the fastest. The Relay is about learning what it takes to be a winner and doing one's best for the team in a celebration of life and running. For corporate teams, The Relay reinforces values that employees need to create a winning company. While conquering as a team what few dare to face alone, runners work together to meet challenges and overcome hardships during the 24-hour adventure. Add the full moon, decorated vans, glow jewelry and "California's Longest Party" is "the most fun 24 feet can have…in the best place on earth."

Organs 'R' Us was founded in San Francisco in 1996 and supports 100,000 Americans waiting for organs by generating $25 million in publicity promoting the need for donors. Through running and walking, ORU members showcase their fitness proving that transplantation restores health. In the long run, organ donation saves lives.

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