Team Honey Buckettes

Rainier to Ruston ‘19

Rainier to Ruston is a 50 mile running relay. It starts in the beautiful Mount Rainier forest and ends on the waterfront in Tacoma, Wash. The race benefits the Foothills Rails To Trails Coalition.

Carbon River


It is our 8th consecutive year running this relay.

The race has grown a lot in the past few years. This year, there were 388 teams and 5 different start times. This is us at the 8 a.m. wave.

The start line is gorgeous on the edge of Mount Rainier National Park at about 1,800 feet up. The race ends at, essentially, zero feet on Commencement Bay.

Let’s go!

Meet the team

Zoë: Running legs 1 & 7

Tiffany: Running legs 2 & 8 (Also our fearless driver!)

Kerrie (me): Running legs 3 & 9

Alyssa: Running legs 5 & 11

Jami: Running legs 4 & 10

Mel: Running legs 6 & 12

How a running relay works

Rainier to Ruston has 12 legs. As a team if 6, we each run two. (Team Honey Buckettes—we are named after the portable potty brand prevalent along the course—began as a team of 4 in 2012 and 2013, then expanded in 2014.) The race works like this: One person runs and the team meets them at an exchange point where the next teammate gets ready to take over running. At each exchange, the runner rings the bell under the Rainier to Ruston sign, then high fives their next runner. Repeat for 50 miles!

Leg 1: Road running through beautiful trees with some rolling hills. 4.9 miles Leg 2: Technical trail with mud but along the river! 6.9 miles Leg 3: Trail, technical in spots, through the woods. Ends on pavement. 3.5 miles Leg 4: Trail and road running. Ends on the paved Orting Trail. 5.2 miles Leg 5: Paved Orting Trail winding through farms. 4.6 miles Leg 6: Same as 5. 2.7 miles Leg 7: Paved Orting Trail past farms and country highway. 3.4 miles Leg 8: Same as 7. 3.6 miles Leg 9: Sidewalks and paved Puyallup Riverwalk among the Puyallup River. Pretty but lots of sketchy characters. 4.1 miles Leg 10: This leg gets its own medal. City sidewalk running and then mostly sandy trail along the river. 4.6 miles Leg 11: This leg should get a medal. Running through downtown Tacoma industrial areas. Many sketchy characters. 6 miles Leg 12: Sidewalk running along the waterfront on Ruston Way to the finish! 3.8 miles

About each leg

Total: 53.3 miles

I took a few photos of my first leg. Leg 3 of Rainier to Ruston is on trail with a a couple technical spots for 3.5 miles. Legs 1-4 are the best legs of the race. Two and 3 are the most beautiful.

Leg 3 starts in Carbanado and passes a small cemetery with a monument to the 340 men who died working in the area coal mines founded in the 1800s. The leg ends in Wilkeson (population 480), which is considered one of Washington’s ghost towns.

Along the race route, we stop where we can to support our runner, or any runner that needs water or snacks. We rent a minivan for the race. It’s the perfect size for our team, is easy to get in and out of, and has room for all our supplies (read: junk food) and water in the back.

Waiting at the finish

Mount Rainier

The race ends along Ruston Way on the Tacoma waterfront. Here comes our final runner, Mel, with Mount Rainier in the background!

Why we run! The finish line has a beer garden where you can also grab a traditional grilled cheese. (We always go to dinner afterward in Tacoma.) This year, we finished the race in 9 hours and 9 minutes earning 28th in our division. Not bad for not training! In 2012, as a team of four, we won our division with a time of 7:57:06 earning us a golden spike award.


Rainier to Ruston holds a special place in my heart. Each year, the race gets bigger. If you want to enter, sign up early. You can have teams of two to six—all male or female, or mixed. Or you can run it solo! # washingtonstate #pacificnorthwest #running #trailrunning

Share This Story


get the app