Inspired by the Hood to Coast Relay, a slew of local Idaho runners competed in the Womxn Run the Vote Relay, held Sept. 21-27.

Around 10,000 women competed in the Womxn Run the Vote Relay nationwide with three teams of Idaho locals among them.

Team Joha, Joha Inspires and Johomojo were the three teams, consisting of 20 women each.

Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary led Team Joha.

“I was inspired to have a sense of connection,” McCleary said. “I was inspired by the cause and wanted to get women to vote.”

The goal of the relay was to have each team run at least 687 miles in one week to symbolize the historic 1963 Civil Rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which started in Atlanta, GA, and finished in Washington D.C.

Between the three local teams (60 women), there were 25 Blaine County locals.

Team Joha finished in sixth place, and went above and beyond to run 1,161.4 miles.

Local runners for Team Joha were McCleary, Yessenia Lopez and Amanda Breen.

Anna Webb of Boise was also a part of Team Joha.

The three teams have been running in honor of their fallen friend, Johanna Olson, who passed away from brain cancer in 2013.

Olson—originally from Wadena, Minnesota—was a distance running staple in the Wood River Valley. She was a former NCAA Division III cross country champion while at Luther College in Iowa, and also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials twice.

Olson’s mother, Jane Bagstad, and sister, Marney Olson, also competed on Team Joha.

Team Joha recently competed in the virtual version of the Hood to Coast race in Oregon on Aug. 28-29.

Joha Inspires finished in 13th place. Local runners for that team were Kelli Lusk, Julie Carney, Mary Fauth, Alexa Turzian and Courtney Hamilton.

Johomojo finished 28th. That team was comprised of Hannah Young, Julie Lyons, Laura Theis, Elizabeth Herrick, Emily Williams, Sophie Curl, Cara Barret, Lili Hansen, Tiffany Larson, Rachel Wolfe, Molli Linnet, Katie Quayle, Katie Schneider, Sydney Chickrell, Sarah Seppa, Nicole Kearney and Gretel Friedman.

A total of 401,838 miles were logged in the event with a 98 percent participation rate of 9,732 total participants.

Because of COVID-19 concerns, many of these types of races moved to a virtual format, meaning each team ran on their own rather than traveling and competing at in-person events.

Because of the virtual style of competition, McCleary said it was a chance for some team members to get to know each other on a personal level.

“We got to see a more personal life with our team,” McCleary said. “Some members ran with baby strollers, ran with their husbands and pets. We got to know their family life.”

The relay race was created to motivate minorities and people of color to vote.

The Womxn Run the Vote Relay helped raise a total of $270,600, which was donated to the Black Votes Matter Fund.

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