Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nike Hood to Coast- "The Mother of All Relays"

Registration for the 28th annual Hood to Coast Relay opened October 15- organizers received over 1,000 applications so are already in the process of setting up a lottery.

A summary of the event-
197 miles
12,000 runners
28th Annual Year
3,500 volunteers
August 28-29, 2009
Largest Running Relay in the World!
Fundraise for Charity of Choice: American Cancer Society
Near the top of Oregon's majestic Mt. Hood to beautiful Pacific Ocean in Seaside
Course record: 15 hr 44 min- Nike Mambu, 1995
2008 Winner: 16 hr 58 min- Bowerman Ac (5:10 per mile!)

Race founder, Bob Foote, needed a new challenge. As a 35 time marathoner and 13 time ultra-marathon runner, Bob, as well as many of his running friends were looking to test themselves in a fresh new challenge. That's when Bob's creative mind starting churning and came up with the idea of running from nearby Mount Hood, the backdrop for the city of Portland in which he lived, to another of his favorite weekend get-aways...the beach! A group of Bob's running friends and competitors would form relay teams, handing off every 5 miles, starting at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and finishing in the quaint coastal town of Pacific City. As a dedicated runner, Bob knew it was something he would definitley enjoy.

The first Hood To Coast Relay took place, August 7th, 1982 on a full moon, with 8 teams of 10 runners. Bob made simple spray paint marks on the road to indicate exact exchange points, (being a perfectionist architect, this meant exactly every 5 miles). This translated to one exchange point being in the middle of a very busy intersection in Portland!

Word got out of Bob's adventurous relay event, and the race began to take on a life of its own. As Hood To Coast grew each year, it necessitated much safer exchange points with available parking, resulting in varying leg lengths that continue today. In 1989, the event outgrew capacity for the town of Pacific City and moved to the beachside city of Seaside, Oregon. The distance of the event then increased to 197 miles, with teams growing in size to 12 members, in order to accommodate the extra mileage.

In 1999 a cap of 1,000 teams was agreed upon by Hood To Coast and Clatsop County to keep the event safe and enjoyable to all who participate. The limit still exists today, with Hood To Coast filling on "opening day" of registration for the past ten years!

In early 2006, Bob brought Felicia, his daughter and long-time runner, on board the Hood To Coast organization. She has taken on much of Bob's responsibilities and passion for the race, having participated in HTC six times, and attended or assisted in the race 24 of the last 27 years. Thus the Hood To Coast tradition as "Mother of All Relays" plans to continue for many years to come!

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