There’s something special about the Hood to Coast Relay. It’s more than running. It’s the little things. Like the smell of the brakes overheating on the vans as the descend from Mt. Hood. Or the smell inside the vans of the musty clothes, soaked runners, left-over food and a hundred other smelly things that cloud the inside of the space. Hood to Coast pummels the senses with contrasts. As a runner, you move from loud to silent, light to utter darkness, exuberance to exhaustion, all within a matter of hours.Our team has made its way down from Mt. Hood and my teammates are sleeping in a friends house as I type this message. Thousands of runners out are out on the road right now and we’ll rejoin them shortly — at about 2:00AM — as we start our next set of legs from Portland onward.
Van 1 is always a challenge for the runners, as they try their hardest not to get caught up in the urge to race too hard and try not to compare themselves to their teammates — efforts that most often fail. The first runner goes out too fast and everyone else wants to “beat” their estimated time. One after the other, the legs become time-trials with the unfortunate effect of making the next two legs so much more difficult. The most experienced runners try to keep things from getting out of hand, taking it a bit conservatively, because they know that it will come back later to them as they blow past their peers, many of whom are walking, later in the race.
There are so many familiar sights and sounds to me as I take on this 11th Hood To Coast. Many of the team names are the same. Many of the runners are even familiar. A woman named Jeanie from the Atlanta Track Club came over and re-introduced herself — we had talked a year ago at the race. There is a comfort to Hood To Coast after you’ve done it many times, but a large number of runners are experiencing it for their first time — right now!
See also Update #2 which has more photos from the Hood to Coast Relay.
Click the READ MORE button below to see some photos from the race.