Kenmore man to race across the U.S. next month

Kirkland Police Det. Derek Hill, who lives in Kenmore, trains for next month’s Race Across America event. Contributed photo

Derek Hill, a Kenmore resident and Kirkland police detective, and John Bergen, a Kirkland resident and a partner at Ernst and Young in Seattle, are teaming up for an epic race across the United States next month.

On June 17, they depart from Oceanside, Calif., to bike the 3,089-mile Race Across America course to Annapolis, Md. They are participating in the two-person relay event and have nine days to complete the trek.

“The race itself is epic,” Bergen, who was the first American finisher in the 2014 Race Across America solo event, said. “It’s a race like no other.”

During the race, the participants are GPS-chipped and there are 55 checkpoints along the way.

“It’s a very well-organized and marshalled event,” Bergen said.

If all goes well, Team Bergen Hill wants to get the race done in six and a half days, breaking the record of six days, nine hours and 41 minutes — figures Hill could immediately recall.

“We’d like to win the two-man relay,” Bergen said.

The two men have known each other for about a decade, bonding over shared experiences in various endurance events.

“We’re very competitive, always pushing one another,” Bergen said.

They were both athletes in high school, and once they began their careers, they were looking for ways to be more active, starting with a variety of marathons, triathlons and Ironman events in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“It became a process where I can continue to test my limits,” Bergen said.

“It’s been my passion,” Hill added.

They are both members of the Seattle-based Pauole Sport triathlon team, and when Bergen participated in the individual version of Race Across America in 2014, Hill was his crew chief.

“We were talking over the radio, and Derek said, ‘I don’t know about doing this by myself, but the two-man relay looks kind of cool,’” Bergen said.

To train for this event, Hill and Bergen have been keeping up with their regular fitness routines and endurance events, but they have stepped up their time on their bikes.

“We’ve been focused on more bike riding in the last six months,” Hill said, adding that they’ve been going on long training rides and participated in camps that simulate the race conditions.

Crew, community support

This trek across the country is about more than these two athletes. They will be joined by a 12-person crew in three vehicles as they make the trip. While Bergen and Hill focus on making it through the 24-hour-a-day cycle of biking across the country, their team members serve as drivers, navigators, mechanics and food runners. Their crew consists of family members and friends, including some who participated in Bergen’s 2014 solo trek.

“We strategically picked a few who have skill sets that are valuable,” Hill said, adding that one person is a physical therapist and another is a registered nurse.

Bergen said the race is much more than a physical challenge, it’s also mentally and emotionally challenging, and having a solid crew to support the racers is key.

“Your crew is your lifeline,” he added.

Ahead of next month’s event, the team is trying to raise money for two purposes, including collecting donations for the Issaquah-based Behind the Badge Foundation.

“It was established to help out families of law enforcement officers who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty,” Hill said.

Bergen and Hill also want to make sure they have enough funding to cover the expenses for all 14 people.

“We’re also trying to raise a few dollars for the team,” Bergen said. “It’s an extremely expensive event to pull off.”

For more information about the team or to donate, visit

Derek Hill and John Bergen train for next month’s Race Across America event. Courtesy photo

Kirkland resident John Bergen trains for next month’s Race Across America event. Contributed photo

More in Life

From left to right: the city of Bothell’s Christi Cox and Friend of North Creek Forest’s Paula Quigg and Melissa Gugala. Blake Peterson/staff photo
Friends of North Creek Forest, city organize work party on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Community members and other groups came out for the gathering.

From left: students Riley Retinger, Abby Smith, Mimmi Hubbard and Sadie Rabinowitz. Photo by Calah Webb
‘It’s one of my favorite places to be’: School of Rock Issaquah gears up for January shows

In January, students will be paying homage to the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Chris Cornell and others.

Wyatt MacDonald, 17, and Spencer Hogge, 16, completed all requirements to become Eagle Scouts. They were recognized on Dec. 27. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Bothell’s Hogge and MacDonald receive Eagle Scout awards

Spencer Hogge and Wyatt MacDonald received the highest rank in Boy Scouts.

Courtesy photo
                                Bothell resident Patricia Wangen participated in the Community Action Training School (CATS).
Bothell woman creates environmental education program at Northshore Senior Center

Community Action Training School helped Wangen with her project.

Sue Freeman was recognized as the human services champion of the year by the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA) at the organization’s annual awards program held on Dec. 3. Photo courtesy of Michael Powell
Northshore volunteer named human services champion of the year

Sue Freeman was recognized as the human services champion of the year by the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA).

Bothell’s Anderson earns Eagle Scout award

For his project Daniel Anderson organized and led volunteers to remove and install new fence posts at Cascade Park.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
                                During the week of Nov. 18-25, community members filled shoeboxes with school supplies, toys and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world.
Bothell’s My Story Church participates in global Christmas project

National collection week for Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts were collected Nov. 18-25.

Courtesy photo 
                                North Creek’s upcoming performance of “Elf: the Musical” is based on the holiday film starring Will Ferrell.
North Creek High School debuts ‘Elf: The Musical’

There will be performances this weekend and next weekend, with shows at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. show on Dec. 14.

63 NSD students to perform at all-state music conference

Student musicians will represent their schools at the 2020 Washington Music Educators Conference from Feb. 14-16 in Yakima.

Dora Gyarmati. Photo by Nityia Photography
Three simple rules for the holiday

A monthly column about mindfulness.

Boy scouts representing Troop 622 collected donations at the entrances of the Bothell Fred Meyer from Nov.14-16. The scouts collected 5,608 pounds of non-perishable food donations and $536 in cash donations. Top row from left, Aiden Simons, Alex Marquess, Gavin Gardino Andrew Elley, Dylan Swierstra and Jack Connor. Bottom Row: Tom Nelson, Sam Thomas, Ryan Waldrop and Ian Miller. Photo courtesy of of Boy Scouts Troop 622
Bothell Boy Scout Troop 622 collects donations for food bank

They collected 5,608 pounds of non-perishable food donations and $536 in cash was raised.