SEVENTY48: Medals made from other metals

By Daniel Evans, Race Boss

Love and joy never really come up in phrases involving SEVENTY48, and only to say things like, “It was such a joy not to race this year,” or “I love watching the race tracker,” because SEVENTY48 is a 70-mile, all-muscle sufferfest, proven by the fact that last year less than half of the 96 teams even finished. 

It’s a 48-hour challenge to take whatever crew and craft you brought, 70 miles from Tacoma to Port Townsend. No support, no motors, no sails. Muscles only.

Melissa Lovejoy, of Team Paddle On… Paddle On, raced in every SEVENTY48 that’s existed. While it would be easy to point towards a youth made of outdoor experiences, miles of kayak adventures, gravel bike races, and the butt-annealing pain of years spent on horseback, we believe her mettle was forged by an occu-passion far more demanding than our race—ballet. Decades of practicing then teaching one of the toughest dances on earth.

Much like the distinct design of every snowflake, Team Paddle On… Paddle On’s unique accolade is also impossible to take back; Ms. Lovejoy is our first last place ever. And, in her second race, even after shaving 4.5 hours off her race time, held onto the coveted final finisher one more time.

In 2021, she raced but didn’t finish. We think of it as her Brisé before the Fouetté because Melissa—like ourselves—sees life not by discrete segments but by movements, perhaps a Changement or two to recalibrate, and the breadth of experience the total dance. 

Welcome back to SEVENTY48, Melissa. Welcome back to all the people for whom medals are not typically created. We’ll watch with our soft clap or thunderous applause and celebrate the triumphs found in every mile, no matter where you land when the clock strikes the 48th hour.