Hundreds of students gathered together on Saturday, June 9, at the Rexburg Idaho Temple to begin the annual Temple to Temple Relay Race. Teams arrived and started staggered, with some teams leaving at 6:40 a.m.

“I’ve participated in the Temple to Temple Relay Race every year since 2013,” said Annalee Gonzalez, a senior studying exercise physiology. “Our team’s name has always been the ‘Fellowship’ and it really is a family ordeal. My brother, who graduated in 2016, still drives up with his wife and son every year to participate. I enjoy it because I love the team spirit and “fellowship” we feel with the family and other runners. I also love how it symbolizes our journey to the temple and how we are all in this together.”

The Temple to Temple relay spans a 39-mile route with team members each running a leg of the race. Last year, there were 425 runners on 54 teams. While running 39 miles could seem intimidating, participants each have their own motivations for joining.

“Running the Temple to Temple relay was a physical representation of my spiritual motivation to continually be running to the temple in life,” said Peter Cook, a junior studying biology. “It helped me to refocus on what matters most as a disciple of Jesus Christ and find joy in the journey.”

Some find their motivations in trying new things and just being with friends.

“I decided to do the Temple to Temple relay because I had a group of friends going, and I wanted to be a part of something fun,” said Ben Backstein, a senior studying nursing. “I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before. It was enjoyable because I got to be a part of an event that I wasn’t just in for myself, but was in to be a part of a team. We worked together to accomplish something.”