Surfrider club members compete in North Face Endurance Challenge

Jocelyn Overmyer

Early in the morning on Dec. 4, the stunning hills and serene beaches of the Marin Headlands served as the backdrop for the 10th annual North Face Endurance Challenge Series as hundreds of racers ran through the numerous dirt trails woven among the scenic terrain. Sophomore Carmen Monroe-Watts and junior Inés Schwartz participated in the race, representing Team Surfrider.

Monroe-Watts and Schwartz placed third and fourth among females under the age of 19, both with a time of 23.53 minutes in the 5-kilometer race. Fellow Redwood Surfrider club members and Erika Canales, who coordinated Redwood’s involvement in the event, cheered on the girls throughout the race.

Competing in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 5-kilometer race in the Marin Headlands on Dec. 4, sophmore Carmen Monroe-Watts and junior Inés Schwartz raised money for the Surfrider Foundation
Competing in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 5-kilometer race in the Marin Headlands on Dec. 4, sophomore Carmen Monroe-Watts and junior Inés Schwartz raised money for the Surfrider Foundation

Starting on Dec. 3, the two-day running event put on by The North Face attracts trail-runners from all around the Bay Area to participate in a varsity events, and offers a platform that allows runners to raise money to contribute to non-profit organizations. However, the two runners only participated on the second day.

“We participated in the race because we are part of the Surfrider club and [The North Face] was hosting this race where you are sweating for a good cause,” Schwartz said.

The Surfrider Foundation is an organization whose goal is to preserve the coastlines and bring awareness to the problems that face the ocean. The foundation is composed up of chapters, including one at Redwood and creates a global network to help tackle their ambitious goal. On Nov. 28, the Surfrider Foundation launched Team Surfrider to promote youth to get active and involved with the environment.

Planning for the month prior to the race, the Redwood Surfrider chapter, along with chapters from Drake High School and UC Berkeley, fundraised for two runners from each school. The money went to the recently launched Team Surfrider by the Surfrider Foundation.

“It showed that the Surfrider club doesn’t just mean being part of the ocean, it’s just being part of the environment in general,” Monroe-Watts said.

Monroe-Watts is on varsity cross country for Redwood and has competitive racing experience. However, for both runners, the Endurance Challenge series was their first large-scale race that contributed to a charity cause.                   photo2

Team Surfrider started its program ambitiously with the esteemed Endurance Challenge Series. Schools were required to raise a minimum of $250 for each runner. Redwood satisfied the goal by raising $550, trailing Drake’s impressive $1,286.30 for their two runners, Zoe Miller and Shannon McKillop-Herr, who placed second and third in the overall women’s 5k.

“We did some fundraisers, a bake sale, and we both individually donated and got people to donate,” Monroe-Watts said.

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Team Surfrider is partnered with Positive Tracks, who will match the U23 runners’ donations up to $230.

Monroe-Watts and Schwartz both agree that being immersed in scenery during the trail-course and the supportive racers added to the fulfilling experience.

The Endurance Challenge Series, partnered with Crowdrise, allowed the runners to choose from a variety of nonprofit organizations to support. The local event raised a total of $18,130.

The Endurance Challenge Series is a running event hosted in six states, and offers seven demanding races.

After running their event, Team Surfrider racers and volunteers were ushered to Sports Basement in the Presidio where they celebrated their hard work and awarded the Drake runners for placing.