The End! or is it????

When we last left off, we left the audience with a bit of a cliffhanger, waiting with bated breath for our team results in the sprint relay. Well, spoiler we did about as well as the US is expected to do. But a lot more has happened since that fateful day and in this blog post we will update you all (y’all? You guys? youse?) on all that took place, from thrilling races to compelling interactions to bumping parties this post has it all (3 all’s in a sentence I am sorry mom but it had to be done!)! So let’s get right to it. 

Races 

Sprint Relay

With the fires and intense heat spreading throughout Portugal and beyond, the second race of JWOC was switched to a Sprint Relay. Luckily because the sprint Relay is slated to be added to JWOC next year this race was to be an official medal race. Which meant all the teams were trying hard and the final product certainly did not disappoint with a thrilling race to the finish by the top teams. 

But this is a US blog so let’s talk about them. The first team of Lily, Keegan, Ben, and Bridget did quite well finishing in 39th place, the other team of  Zoe, Victor, Holden, and Kirsten also finished cleanly with a 48th place finish! Our US South African alliance also had fun finishing in 19th for the mixed team race.

Opinions on the map and people’s runs were mixed with many feeling more confident and faster on the course, but also thinking the course focused a little too much on running speed which brought some of the enjoyment down. 

For maps, results and GPS use this link: https://jwoc2022.pt/jwoc-live-center-sprint-relay-wednesday-13th-july/ 

Urban Relay

The second relay of the week happened on Friday and was technically not a sprint relay because rules, but was basically a sprint relay. The course was a little longer at 4.3 km and the teams were single-gendered but besides that, it was a normal sprint relay. Our teams were Ben, Keegan, and Victor; Lily, Bridget, and Zoe; Anna, Kirsten, and Alex; and a mixed team of Holden and the South Africans Connor and Simon. 

This course took place in Dornelas and was quite fun and technical. All the teams did well with a particularly strong performance from the team of Keegan, Ben, and Victor. I (Keegan) even got a shout-out from the commentators and was in third place at one point! Which I promptly followed with a miss punch, but it is what it is. 

After our race the two most important events of all of JWOC took place, the coach’s race and the shirt trading! The coaches event when the coaches go do a course (well some of a course) while getting soaked with all manners of liquid. It is quite fun to watch! The shirt trading is when we trade our shirts for other countries’ ones.

For map, results, and GPS use this link, https://jwoc2022.pt/jwoc-live-center-urban-relay-friday-15th-july/

Fun

Days Off

Now with all the boring races out of the way we can talk about the things that truly matter… free time! Due to the lack of races we had a lot of it. I could waffle on for a while about what we did but I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves! For those wanting my words though I’ll say lots of lake, meeting other teams, and volleyball. The most exciting part of these days was that we finally got to meet our elusive neighbors the Swiss. Turns out they are very nice.

Saturday 

While I stayed quite brief for days off I will go a bit deeper into the final day. This was a day filled with fun times and food. To start the 100-degree day we went right to the team pool and fields where we played some team football (soccer) against other countries challenging both the British and Hong Kong. And while we weren’t very good (not sure we won a game), it was still loads of fun. 

After that, we lounged around at the pool waiting for the special beverage mile to begin. However, since it was being planned by 100 teenagers simultaneously it was quite hard to figure out when it was starting. After a couple hours of waiting however, it finally started. If you don’t know what a beverage mile is, everyone chooses a beverage and has to drink one serving of it per 400 meters. The beverage is your choice but the grosser it is the better. For example, Bridget used Almond Milk. It was great fun and also a little sickening for those taking part. 

Finally, the night ended with the farewell banquet where we got to say goodbye to all the friends we made along the way. It was an event filled with joys and the tears of farewell. I mean I didn’t cry, of course, but I heard others, sniff, totally, sniff, did. I mean the, sniff, Swiss, sniff, and South Africans were just so cool. 

Anyways besides the sadness associated with our last event, the banquet was great and there were many amazing costumes by the teams, ours, of course, being the best. I will leave it to the pictures to describe the rest, see if you can tell what our theme was!

Us looking dope and us making friends

And that is all folks! With the banquet, we wrapped up JWOC in Portugual, well at least for now. They are planning on holding Forest races in November that the team would love to go to. With costs and school, however, it is unclear whether any members would be able to go. Any financial or logistical help would be highly appreciated in achieving this dream and letting the athletes on their last JWOC like Bridget and Victor compete for real. And for all of you that already helped out THANK YOU! This was the trip of a lifetime for us and that was all thanks to your generosity. We really can not express our gratitude enough for your help getting us here.

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