Inside NPR

A Favorite Holiday Tradition: The NPR Staff Relay Race

  • The annual NPR holiday relay race gets started off when Morning Edition Host David Greene and NPR News Managing Editor David Sweeney explain the event rules to the teams and staff.
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    The annual NPR holiday relay race gets started off when Morning Edition Host David Greene and NPR News Managing Editor David Sweeney explain the event rules to the teams and staff.
    Caitlin Sanders/NPR
  • First Stop: Pastry Eating Contest. News Apps Developer Jeremy Bowers, Mobile Product Manager Jen Oh and Digital Media Intern Curtis Bard kick the race off as they make their way through four pastries. Apparently some NPR staffers are better at savoring their food than scarfing it down: mid-way through, the requirement for completing this challenge was reduced to just two pastries.
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    First Stop: Pastry Eating Contest. News Apps Developer Jeremy Bowers, Mobile Product Manager Jen Oh and Digital Media Intern Curtis Bard kick the race off as they make their way through four pastries. Apparently some NPR staffers are better at savoring their food than scarfing it down: mid-way through, the requirement for completing this challenge was reduced to just two pastries.
    Kainaz Amaria/NPR
  • Still chewing his last pastry, Bowers takes off running the first leg of the relay race around NPR Headquarters in DC.
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    Still chewing his last pastry, Bowers takes off running the first leg of the relay race around NPR Headquarters in DC.
    Kainaz Amaria/NPR
  • Bard hands off the baguette baton to teammate Emma Roller, an intern on the Washington Desk.
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    Bard hands off the baguette baton to teammate Emma Roller, an intern on the Washington Desk.
    Emily Hellewell/NPR
  • Second Challenge: Paint by Numbers. Science Desk Intern David Schultz and Talk of the Nation Producer Sarah Handel paint (within the lines?) a line-art drawing of the Eiffel Tower.
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    Second Challenge: Paint by Numbers. Science Desk Intern David Schultz and Talk of the Nation Producer Sarah Handel paint (within the lines?) a line-art drawing of the Eiffel Tower.
    Emily Hellewell/NPR
  • Taylor Phares, a paralegal in the Office of the General Counsel, keeps the pace as her runner's bib flies up in her face near the third relay stop.
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    Taylor Phares, a paralegal in the Office of the General Counsel, keeps the pace as her runner's bib flies up in her face near the third relay stop.
    Kathie Miller/NPR
  • Third Challenge: Translation Station. Sara Richards, an production assistant on the International Desk, matches the French translations with corresponding English phrases.
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    Third Challenge: Translation Station. Sara Richards, an production assistant on the International Desk, matches the French translations with corresponding English phrases.
    Kathie Miller/NPR
  • Mariah Dodson (Office of the General Counsel) rounds the corner along Massachusetts Avenue to reach the final challenge of the race.
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    Mariah Dodson (Office of the General Counsel) rounds the corner along Massachusetts Avenue to reach the final challenge of the race.
    Katie Burk/NPR
  • Fourth Challenge: Latte Carry. For the final leg of the race, StateImpact's Danny DeBelius carries a bowl filled with milk and coffee, careful not to spill too much out.
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    Fourth Challenge: Latte Carry. For the final leg of the race, StateImpact's Danny DeBelius carries a bowl filled with milk and coffee, careful not to spill too much out.
    Caitlin Sanders/NPR
  • Finish Line: 'Judge' Sweeney inspects the latte bowl of Global Health Correspondent Jason Beaubien to make sure he didn't spill too much liquid out during the final leg of the race. He passed the inspection and his team won the race.
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    Finish Line: 'Judge' Sweeney inspects the latte bowl of Global Health Correspondent Jason Beaubien to make sure he didn't spill too much liquid out during the final leg of the race. He passed the inspection and his team won the race.
    Kainaz Amaria/NPR
  • NPR CEO Gary E. Knell takes the megaphone to congratulate the teams. "You are all winners," he said.
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    NPR CEO Gary E. Knell takes the megaphone to congratulate the teams. "You are all winners," he said.
    Caitlin Sanders/NPR

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By far, the best holiday tradition at NPR is our annual relay race around the perimeter of our headquarters in Washington, D.C. It's not your traditional office party: eight teams of four employees compete for glory in a race that is less about athleticism and more about the challenging activities along the way. You may recall this hippity-hop sprint from 2010, for example.

This year, the theme for our holiday festivities celebrated one of the golden ages of thought, creativity and entertainment: Paris in the Jazz Age of the 1920's. The relay crews, inspired by the theme, showed up wearing mustaches and floppy hats with team names like "The Champs of Élysées" and "The Toulouse Lautrekkers." They raced around the building holding a baguette for a baton and competed in four challenge activities: pastry eating, painting by numbers, phrase translation and the latte carry.

Our colleagues, thankfully uninhibited by propriety, are allowing us to display some photos from along the course for all to see. Enjoy.

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